Obsession Essay

1474 words - 6 pages

It is a well-known fact that many artists draw inspiration from their own lives. When a subject is prevalent through a large portion of someone’s creative activity, it may be inferred that this matter is significant in the life of the artist. Many writers who lived in colonial America wrote poems, stories, and even novels pertaining to the subject of religion. After all, these authors have ancestors who left England in pursuit of religious freedom. As with every other aspect of life, in writing there are those people whose beliefs and opinions do not match the acceptable norm. An individual’s level of religious devotion can range anywhere from complete denial to subtle skepticism to ...view middle of the document...

Brown points out that good Christians like his father and grandfather never entered the forest. On his reluctant journey into the center of the woods, he encounters the woman who performed his catechism, and later the deacon of his church. These people are respectable Christians who hold positions of leadership in the religious community. The two suggest that a ceremony will take place in the evening hours, but Brown cannot recall any form of religious practice ever occurring in such a tainted location. As the clouds begin to roll in, he hears familiar voices in the distance. He follows the sounds to a clearing where a large group of people are gathered. Here he finds every deceitful, immoral member of his community participating in what can only be described as a satanic ritual. Immediately his attention is centered on Faith, who disappears into the sky. He has lost his Faith to the devil. The discovery of evil in the heart of every man changes Brown; he returns from the forest a sad, paranoid, lonely person. This transition may appear to have happened overnight, but for a single dream to disrupt his life with such magnitude, the immoral behavior of his townspeople had to have been on his mind frequently.
Minister Hooper also loses his fiancé and his place in the community because of his excessive fixation with the sins of humanity. The difference between Brown and Hooper is that Hooper makes a conscious decision to separate himself from the world with this barrier. He appears one Sunday before his congregation with an atrocious black veil covering his face. When Hooper offers no explanation, the people of the community are left to fear the worst. This simple piece of crepe transforms the minister into a ghoulish persona. As he exits the Sunday service, Hooper abruptly realizes the consequences of exposing his secret sin—no man will walk by his side or offer him a seat at Sunday brunch. Women cringe when Minister Hooper blesses their infants and small children scream when they see him. His presence is collectively dreaded by everyone. Mass hysteria ensues because Hooper continues to wear his black veil. He is now the subject of every conversation. The Minister’s fiancée, Elizabeth, is the only person who can bear to have a conversation with him, face to veil. He confesses that he has made a vow to make known the secret sin he once kept hidden. After all, it is impossible for any man to live a life free of all sin. Redemption may only be achieved through confession and requesting forgiveness from God. Perhaps the first Sunday he wore the veil, it served to emphasize his sermon. The awful reaction of the community is a true window into the hypocritical nature of his fellow man. Fearing their beloved minister is guilty of some awful crime against humanity, the members of his congregation seem to forget that they too are sinful creatures of God. The harsh shunning that first Sunday had a severe impact on the minister’s...

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