Young Goodman Brown.doc: This story, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, enlightens the reader to the hypocrisy of the Puritan church. Through my own study of the story I have gleaned that Nathaniel Hawthorne believed that all human nature is inherently evil. Through the curiosity of the characters and the situations in which they find themselves he also demonstrates a view of knowledge as evil. Hawthorne also uses a character that is assumed to be the devil. He takes on the appearance of Young Goodman Brown's father which seems to support the fact that evil is only what a person makes of it. Brown thought that his father was a good man but in learning what he had been involved in begins to view him as evil. This supports the changing and personal nature of evil.


The Stanford Prison Experiment: In an attempt to learn about the nature of humanity to taking on a role, the Stanford Department of Psychology hosted an experiment in the basement of one of the buildings. The experiment went drastically wrong when both "prisoners" and "guards" alike took the idea too far. Guards exhibited purely sadistic behavior and, despite the ability to pull out at any time, the prisoners just took it. This demonstrates how human kind responds to its environment. While in the fake prison the prisoners began to view their largest issue, the guards, as evil. Likewise, the guards began to think of the prisoners as evil. The one thing the prisoners failed at was hope. They were caught up in a sense of despair and seemed to forget that they were only part of an experiment. They began to lose all hope of ever leaving the prison when in fact it was only planned over 14 days. The Stanford Prison Experiment is a good example of situational changes in ones view of evil and hope.


A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.doc: The story of angel, or so we assume. A man falls into the yard of a poor simple worker and changes his life as well as his families. By charging admission and taking advantage of the old man Pelayo becomes quite rich. Unfortunately, by adopting this man as a "pet" they have also unleashed a demon in their home. The very same old man drives them to near insanity before casually flying away one day. This enigmatic story proves to have a great deal to do with this matter of good and evil. Every single member of 4th hour honors American Literature had a different view of what the evil was in the story. Some concluded that the man was not an angel at all but a demon. Others found Pelayo, in his selfish actions to be evil. Still others saw the towns people as the evil of the story. Only the author knows the actual intention. This proves that while everyone agrees that evil exists, everyone sees it in different places and different ways.


The Village: M. Night Shayamalan tells a suspenseful story of a group of people living, literally, in the past. The elders moved to Covington Village in order to escape crime and heartache. When Noah stabs Lucius for loving Ivy, they learn that both crime and heartache are inescapable. The elders also keep control over the people of their village through of fear of "those we don't speak of," the terrible monsters that live in the woods. M. Night expresses his belief of evil through colors. The "bad color" is red. It represents, in this film, fear. Fear is the evil that keeps the children and the other adults of Covington from medicine, technology, and numerous other benefits of the outside world. Fear is also the thing that engulfs everyone as they come near the woods. M. Night Shayamalan uses the color red to denote fear and its abject effect on people.


THE LOTTERY.doc: In this short story, by Shirley Jackson, a town is portrayed in which a yearly lottery occurs resulting in the death by stoning of one citizen. The story also accurately demonstrates that evil is self-defined. While most people see this act as inherently evil (and I fully believe that it is) the people of the town saw it as a necessary part of life and society. Naturally, that person who is stoned has a drastic change of heart on the matter as the stones begin to fly. Only at that point do they recognize the evil of their actions and by then it is much too late.


William Wilson.doc: Edgar Allen Poe exhibits excellent use of a Doppleganger in this short story about conscience. The main character is haunted by a person who looks and acts exactly like himself. Many theories are made to the reality of the existence of this twin but the result is the same in any of them. The narrator, by being approached with someone so like himself, is forced to look at who he is and how he acts and he finds evil within himself. The entire story focuses around the idea of a conscience, which is the part of the soul that tells the body and mind how to think and act and the part that is responsible for guilty feelings. Since the conscience is part of the person this story supports the idea that people decide what evil is for themselves and also act on that based on their beliefs.

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The Ministers Black Veil.doc: Nathaniel Hawthorne again shows his view of evil in this short story. In this puritan town, the minister begins to wear a black veil over his eyes and face, leaving only his mouth uncovered. This causes dismay and fear in the congregation and when asked by his wife to remove the veil he refuses. Even on his death bed he refuses to remove the veil. The veil is a symbol for sin, outward and hidden. By wearing the veil, the minister acknowledges that he is a sinner still, even though he's the minister. This forces the people to look at themselves and the hypocrisy they live in. The minister's black veil causes them to see their need for a black veil and to overcome that problem. Nathaniel Hawthorne demonstrates that evil is every person including so called holy people. He points to inward, and secret sin as being just as evil though only the sinner can see them. This is also a story of hope, as once one sees their sin they can take care of it.


Dead Poets Society: This movie is a drama about a teacher who breaks all the rules of the rigid, unemotional education of the 1950s. He constantly refers to the trancsendentalist writers Walt Whitman, lovingly referred to as "Uncle Walt," and Henry David Thoreau. Mr. Keating teaches his students not to rely on those telling them what to do but look into themselves for answers. Unfortunately, one of his students, Neil, is unable to overcome the restrictions of his father and commits suicide. This movie depicts evil as society and hope as humanity.


Into the Wild: This book turned movie is the story of Chris McCandless, a real world transcendentalist. After graduating from college Chris takes off on a western adventure with the goal of reaching, and surviving, the Alaskan wilderness. Chris is attempting to leave behind social restrictions and expectations that his social status imply. He has lost hope in his current society and turns to himself to find the answers. After proving his ability to survive alone in the Wilderness Chris is trapped by a rushing river and slowly starves to death. Chris is proof that human nature alone is not strong enough to survive the tide of evil in the world.


Into Bondage: This painting by Aaron Douglas is a depiction of the removal of the people of Africa to ships waiting on the horizon. The people are cuffed and most of them, despairing. They know what awaits them on the ship and, worse, what will come when the ship lands in the southern United States. This painting shows three different types of people: those who abandon hope, those who grasp hope, and those who embrace hope. The man standing the beam of the North Star has embraced hope and made a decision to go with dignity and find freedom when he may. This is the man who will survive the torrent of evil awaiting him slavery. He has the hope to get through it.