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Comparison Of Young Goodman Brown And Young Goodman Brown

“Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett share many similarities. One of these similarities includes Young Goodman Brown and Sylvia’s innocence. Upon entering the woods, they meet a stranger who tries to steal their innocence away. Although these strangers are different people, they offer Young Goodman Brown and Sylvia alluring things, which come at a cost. The price is their innocence. There are many parallels in these two stories, but ultimately Sylvia and Young Goodman Brown make different choices with similar outcomes when it comes to their innocence. Because these two stories are very similar, the way that I read “A White Heron” was directly affected by previously reading “Young Goodman Brown.” Within these two stories, the main characters have tangible items which symbolize their innocence – they are both tempted to give them up at a price – and finally the interpretation of these stories is affected by intertextuality.
For Young Goodman Brown, the tangible object that represents his innocence is his wife Faith. Faith, his wife, with her pink ribbons embodies his purity and innocence, “And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap while she called to Goodman Brown” (Hawthorne 1). Here Faith seems young, free and innocent as she lets the wind play with her pink ribbons. Faith does not want Young Goodman Brown to leave her alone for the night, yet he does anyway. If he had simply just stayed home as his Faith wanted, he never would have walked with the Devil or almost given up his innocence. An online source entitled “Color Psychology” calls pink a representation of “[…]the sweetness …

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…oodman Brown’s innocence is directly intertwined with his wife Faith, so, when she is seen at the satanic ceremony, Young Goodman Brown does not know what to believe in anymore. Faith’s pink ribbons are a deeper representation of the girlish innocence she carries within her. Likewise, Sylvia’s innocence is interlaced with the white heron. If the bird were to die, then so would her innocence as she would be taking a step into the adult world. Since I read “Young Goodman Brown” first, my interpretations and connections that I made between the endings of “A White Heron” might not have been there if I were to read the stories in reverse order. Overall, the principle of intertextuality in “A White Heron” and “Young Goodman Brown” shaped my interpretation of the way Sylvia and Brown go through temptation to give up their innocence and must find their own way to retain it.

Stephen Leacock’s Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich

Stephen Leacock’s Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich

Jonathan Swift has suggested that “Satire is a sort of

Glass, wherein Beholders do generally discover every body’s Face

their own; which is the chief reason…that so few are offended

with it.” Richard Garnett suggests that, “Without humour, satire

is invictive; without literary form, [and] it is mere clownish

jeering.” (Encyclopaedia Britannica 14th ed. vol. 20 p. 5).

Whereas Swift’s statement suggests that people are not offended

by satire because readers identify the character’s faults with

their own faults; Garnett suggests that humour is the key element

that does not make satire offensive. With any satire someone is

bound to be offended, but the technique the author uses can

change something offensive into something embarrassing.

Stephen Leacock’s Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich is

a nonthreatening, humorous, and revealing satire of the moral

faults of upper class society. The satire acts as a moral

instrument to expose the effect money can have on religion,

government, and anything within its touch. Writing about such

topics is hard to do without offending people. Leacock’s

technique combines money with humour, and accompanies his moral

message with ironic characters; their exaggerated actions, and a

constant comical tone to prevent readers from being offended.

Leacock’s utopian world is filled with humorous labels that

represent the “Plutonian’s” personalities. “Ourselves Monthly”; a

magazine for the modern self-centered, is a Plutonian favourite.

To fill their idle days, the Plutonian women are in an endless

search for trends in literature and religion. Without the

distractions of club luncheons and trying to achieve the “Higher

Indifference”, the women would have to do something productive.

Readers that identify themselves with the class of people the

Plutonians represent would be embarrassed rather than offended by

Leacock’s satirical portrayal of them.

“The Yahi-Bahi Oriental Society” exaggerates the stupidity

of the Plutonians to a point where the reader laughs at the

character’s misfortunes. The con men give ridiculous prophecies

such as “Many things are yet to happen before others begin.”

(Leacock 87), and eventually take their money and jewelry. The

exaggeration increases the humour while the moral message is


The characters of the novel are ironic in the sence that

they percieve themselves as being the pinicle of society, yet

Leacock makes the look like fools. For someone who prides

themself on being an expert on just about everything, Mr.

Lucullus Fyshe’s (as slimmy and cold as his name represents)

perceptions are proven false. Mr. Fyshe makes hypocratic

statments about ruling class tyranny, while barking down the neck

of a poor waiter for serving cold asparagus.

Leacock exposes the whole Plutonian buisness world to be

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