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Appearance Versus Reality

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Many people perceive to be, one way, but once the reality is shown others change. In the short story “Young Goodman Brown,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Goodman Brown has a dream where he meets the townspeople; who try to convert him to the dark side. In “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne Dr. Heidegger gives three people a liquor of youth and the people become young again. When the liquor begins to wear off, the people become greedy wanting more, and not accept the fact that people get old. Both short stories “Young Goodman Brown” and “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” reveal that once the reality of a character reality that changes peoples view, and their attitudes.

Goodman Brown’s perception of the townspeople changes when he learns their dark reality. The reality is revealed when Goodman is in the forest and, “Deacon Gookin seized his arms and led him to the blazing rock.” (page 8) This proves to Goodman that although the Deacon is supposed to be a good person of the church, he is not. The Deacon pushed Goodman forward toward the evil figure. After Goodman wakes up from his dream his family went to prayer, “he scowled and muttered to himself, and gazed sternly at his wife, and turned away.” (page 9) Goodman stays true to his belief and decides not to side with the evil. He becomes a bitter, distrusted person, because the townspeople in his wife he thought were good people, but in his dream reality proves that they are evil.

Similarly in “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”, Dr. Heidegger attitude changes when the guests reveal their greedy reality. “Each fleeting moment snatched away a charm, and left a deepening furrow where none had been before.” (page 5) Dr. Heidegger’s friends are greedy and want more of the elixir, they cannot seem to accept the fact that they are old, and want to stay young forever. Then Dr. Heidegger explains of how, “Such is the lesson ye have taught me!”(page 5) From the reality of the peoples greediness he learns to excepts his own reality and makes him not want to be around them any longer.

In both “Young Goodman Brown”, and “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” the main characters view changes, when others around them reality is revealed. In Young Goodman Brown the people appeared to be good, but in his dream the reality was they were evil, especially the Deacon! After his dream, Goodman began to question even his own wife, and became a bitter, and distrusted man. Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment he concludes that the three people are greedy and want more of the elixir. Dr. Heidegger learns not to become greedy, and accept his own reality; his friends could not accept the fact that they were old after the elixir wore off. Things appear to be one way, especially people, but once the reality is shown of what it is, others opinion changes.

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