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The Many Faces of the Black Man
The Ever-Current Hazard
As a result of the Black Man lives within the forest surrounding the city, his ethical menace is at all times shut at hand. The neighborhood is below fixed siege. For the Puritans, letting your guard down for even a second could possibly be sufficient to ask the enemy in. Devil desires to purchase your soul, in any case, and he’ll cease at nothing to attain that activity.
When the townspeople go via the forest, they’re particularly cautious; if one other has come from the forest, then she or he will at all times be requested, maybe jokingly (however probably not jokingly in any respect), if the Black Man had been there.
This exhibits that not solely is the city below siege however that it’s also solely the city, as a collective pressure, that may combat the enemy. The Black Man strikes most frequently when the sinner is alone as a result of, in Hester’s Puritan neighborhood, the sin of 1 is the sin of all.
For this reason Hester should be publicly shamed for her sin. Her deeds contaminate your complete city, and solely the collective efforts of your complete city can rid her-and itself-of that contamination.
In the same manner, the Black Man of the forest violates the supposed purity of the city. Within the city, the neighborhood will maintain you on the straight and slender. It is going to monitor, choose, and regulate you. However get alone within the forest and you’re on the mercy of the Black Man.
In Hester’s neighborhood, individuality is akin to sin. Solely the neighborhood can maintain you upright. Stand alone, as Hester does, and you’re in fingers of the enemy.
The household on the scaffold of disgrace
The Query of Free Will
In Hester’s neighborhood, the train of particular person will probably be just about an act of revolt, a declaration of warfare on the neighborhood. However that is exactly an attribute of the Black Man in Hawthorne’s novel.
Again and again, Hester is invited to hitch league with the Black Man. Mistress Hibbins, who, the novel tells us, would later be executed for witchcraft, is probably the most adamant on this. She teases, coaxes, and cajoles Hester to hitch him. However solely as soon as does Hester severely reply to her invitation.
When Hester practically misplaced custody of her daughter, Pearl, whom the magistrates thought was rising up wild, she tells Mistress Hibbins that she will be able to’t be part of the Black Man now, however that if she had misplaced her daughter, she would fortunately have accomplished so .
That is fairly daring for a girl who simply practically misplaced her daughter on a morality declare. However Hester is creating her personal unbiased sense of morality and an unbiased is not going to outlined by her neighborhood.