Morals in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown and King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail

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Morals are set standards of right and wrong for society as a whole. One ’s self image of morals are what the individual thinks is right and wrong according to what he or she learns; however, this “Internal compass” can be influenced because society controls most of what they learn. One’s self image of morals allows an individual to provide compelling arguments, provides emotional stability and allows for an individual to have predetermined views of right and wrong; on account of the fact that said individuals choose to follow the revolutionary figures who provide a strong base for the creation of one’s self image of morals. In most cases, religion plays a major role in the creation of this aspect of identity; made evident in Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in which, through use of historical and religious examples, Dr. King justifies his participation in a non-violent protest to expedite the process of integration. Also, “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne shows how an individual’s self image of morals provide a strong emotional base and an unwavering sense of right and wrong. Even my own experiences have led me to believe that having a strong self image of morals allows an individual to be emotionally stable, and have a strong sense of right and wrong. One’s self image of morals allows a person to accurately determine what they believe is wrong and vice-versa as is the case with Young Goodman Brown; the protagonist in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “Young Goodman Brown” who sees a disturbing vision in which all of the supposedly good townsfolk enter into a pact with the devil. In Goodman Brown’s vision, while following the unholy worshippers to their meeting place, he proclaims “With heaven above and fa... ... middle of paper ... ...One’s self image of morals is extremely important for an individual because in the case of Doctor Martin Luther King, it allowed him to formulate compelling arguments. For both Young Goodman Brown and Martin Luther King, this aspect of one’s identity allowed them to effectively consider what was right and what was wrong and it also allowed them both to remain emotionally stable even in the least favorable circumstances. Martin Luther King, when he quickly came to terms with this label and even gained a level of satisfaction from his new designation is a prime example. Works Cited 1) King, Martin Luther, Jr. “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” A world of Ideas, 7th Ed. Ed. Lee Jacobus, 2006, 173-189. 2) Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Young Goodman Brown. Writing Exploratory Essays: From Personal to Persuasive. 2nd Ed. Steven M. Strang 350-60.

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