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The conviction of the universe of faith and the recognition of religious law expressly denounces all sinful acts, calling them sin (Clarke et al. 209). As for Goodman Brown, he sees himself caught up with a puritan faith that tolerates those who are seen to be good and pointed to as "saints," while those who are seen to be sinners are shunned. Clergyman Hooper still lives in a society under the rule of the Puritan church, which equally turns away from sinners and accepts only saints. Sin is not welcome in both the Goodman Brown and Hooper cultures, considering the masking of sin visible in their communities. Sin comes with death and banishment thus everyone in these communities tends to hide their sinfulness for fear of being persecuted or banished from their loved ones.
Hooper being a clergyman is loved in his community and considered a friendly person; however, by putting on a “black veil” on his face, a symbol that is associated with sin, the community shuns away from him. Goodman, on the other hand, had an encounter with "the devil" who he believes showed him how the puritan followers were merely pretenders and cast with sin. Reverend Hooper wears a black veil and does not hide it to his fellow townspeople to teach them that everyone should consider their sins; for they hide their sin and detach not from only each other but also from God. Hooper while lying on his deathbed says that everyone wears a "black veil", because they hide their sin yet they judged him, abandoned him, called him a monster and other inhumane acts yet they consider themselves saints. Goodman is surprised to discover that the woman that taught him catechism is a witch, which goes against his Puritan beliefs. Goodman soon realizes that the religion he believes in is misleading, as people cannot be considered purely evil or good. He is taken to a witch conversion ceremony, which he says to have a mix of “pious and ungodly” saints and sinners attendance.
According to Goodman and Hooper, sin exists in everyone, despite how hard each person tries to hide their sin. The Puritan religion due to its hard stance on sin has made the people fear to accept the fact that they are sinners in their way thus, they resolve to hide their immoral acts on the eyes of the public. However, the people in these communities commit sinful acts behind closed curtains while protecting it from the public since it is believed that sin should be condemned and it is not tolerated in the society. So much so that those cast as sinful are treated harshly, sentenced to death or banished from the community. As disclosed by Hiuser as long as the existence of humanity is present in the world, sin will probably forever exist (41). As seen in both Goodman and Hooper’s communities, sin does exist despite the attempts to denounce its existence. Most people in these communities with their acts of witchcraft, jealousy, abandoning and making fun of the weak are involved in the practice acts of sin. However, since the repercussions of sin in these communities are severe, some of these sinful acts are quietly ignored.
Reverend Hooper’s ideology was to talk about sin and find the potential to cure it rather than act aggressively towards punishing those labeled sinners. As for Goodman, the fear of being labeled a sinner made him keep quiet about the matter due to the actions that would have been taken on him. The belief towards sin of the Puritan religion was deceptive to the communities as both Goodman and Hooper noted; however, finding a way to communicate the truth without being labeled a sinner was quite tricky. While Goodman kept quiet about it despite losing his faith, Hooper was persecuted for his bold stand on the issue of sin. Acts of sin qualify as sin itself despite the covering of these actions behind closed doors. Focusing on the sin of others not only makes people mistreat their fellows but also creates a cloud of guilt and unhappiness amongst the “saints”.
Clarke, Peter, et al., eds. The World's Religions. Routledge, 2004.
Hiuser, Kris. Animals, Theology and the Incarnation. SCM Press, 2017.
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