What does Goodman Brown's pursuit of sin in "Young Goodman Brown" have in common with Alymer's quest for perfection in "The Birthmark"? How do these pursuits reveal the characters' personalities and shed light on the theme of each story?
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You may be hard pressed to prove that young Goodman Brown is in "pursuit of sin" since his aversion of it is what causes him to become a "stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man."
Yet the single-mindedness both he and Aylmer share can in one sense be compared. Brown was a carefree, happy man until the unfortunate night he was unable, due to pressing business, to listen to his wife's pleadings that on that night of all nights he not leave her alone (he should have capitulated to her pleas). Then he encountered the depth of Devil worship running through his community and ancestral family. From that day on, he had a single vision, though it was a horrified and reclusive vision.
Alymer was devoted to discovering where magic and science met: "mysteries of Nature seemed to open paths into the region of miracle." His devotion to finding the depths of reality led to his single-minded application of the quest to science and to his second adoration, his adoration for his wife, to whose supplicant admonitions he should have paid closer attention.
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