It was the village doctor; a man of some fifty years, whom, at an earlier period of his life, we introduced as paying a professional visit to Ethan Brand during the latter's supposed insanity. He was now a purple-visaged, rude, and brutal, yet half-gentlemanly figure, with something wild, ruined, and desperate in his talk, and in all the details of his gesture and manners.
Young Goodman Brown and Other Hawthorne Short Stories Ethan Brand Summary and Analysis | GradeSaver
Brandy possessed this man like an evil spirit, and made him as surly and savage as a wild beast, and as miserable as a lost soul; but there was supposed to be in him such wonderful skill, such native gifts of healing, beyond any which medical science could impart, that society caught hold of him, and would not let him sink out of its reach. So, swaying to and fro upon his horse, and grumbling thick accents at the bedside, he visited all the sick chambers for miles about among the mountain towns, and sometimes raised a dying man, as it were, by miracle, or quite as often, no doubt, sent his patient to a grave that was dug many a year too soon.
The doctor had an everlasting pipe in his mouth, and, as somebody said, in allusion to his habit of swearing, it was always alight with hell-fire. These three worthies pressed forward, and greeted Ethan Brand each after his own fashion, earnestly inviting him to partake of the contents of a certain black bottle, in which, as they averred, he would find something far better worth seeking for than the Unpardonable Sin. No mind, which has wrought itself by intense and solitary meditation into a high state of enthusiasm, can endure the kind of contact with low and vulgar modes of thought and feeling to which Ethan Brand was now subjected.
It made him doubt--and, strange to say, it was a painful doubt--whether he had indeed found the Unpardonable Sin, and found it within himself. The whole question on which he had exhausted life, and more than life, looked like a delusion. I have done with you. Years and years ago, I groped into your hearts, and found nothing there for my purpose.
Get ye gone! Then let me tell you the truth. You have no more found the Unpardonable Sin than yonder boy Joe has. You are but a crazy fellow--I told you so twenty years ago--neither better nor worse than a crazy fellow, and the fit companion of old Humphrey, here!
He pointed to an old man, shabbily dressed, with long white hair, thin visage, and unsteady eyes. For some years past this aged person had been wandering about among the hills, inquiring of all travellers whom he met for his daughter. The girl, it seemed, had gone off with a company of circus-performers; and occasionally tidings of her came to the village, and fine stories were told of her glittering appearance as she rode on horse-back in the ring, or performed marvellous feats on the tight-rope.
The white-haired father now approached Ethan Brand, and gazed unsteadily into his face. Did she send any word to her old father, or say when she was coming back? Ethan Brand's eye quailed beneath the old man's. That daughter, from whom he so earnestly desired a word of greeting, was the Esther of our tale, the very girl whom, with such cold and remorseless purpose, Ethan Brand had made the subject of a psychological experiment, and wasted, absorbed, and perhaps annihilated her soul, in the process.
There is an Unpardonable Sin! While these things were passing, a merry scene was going forward in the area of cheerful light, beside the spring and before the door of the hut. A number of the youth of the village, young men and girls, had hurried up the hill-side, impelled by curiosity to see Ethan Brand, the hero of so many a legend familiar to their childhood.
Finding nothing, however, very remarkable in his aspect--nothing but a sun-burnt wayfarer, in plain garb and dusty shoes, who sat looking into the fire, as if he fancied pictures among the coals--these young people speedily grew tired of observing him. As it happened, there was other amusement at hand. An old German Jew, travelling with a diorama on his back, was passing down the mountain-road towards the village just as the party turned aside from it, and, in hopes of eking out the profits of the day, the showman had kept them company to the lime-kiln.
So, placing his box in a proper position, he invited the young men and girls to look through the glass orifices of the machine, and proceeded to exhibit a series of the most outrageous scratchings and daubings, as specimens of the fine arts, that ever an itinerant showman had the face to impose upon his circle of spectators. The pictures were worn out, moreover, tattered, full of cracks and wrinkles, dingy with tobacco-smoke, and otherwise in a most pitiable condition.
Some purported to be cities, public edifices, and ruined castles in Europe; others represented Napoleon's battles and Nelson's sea-fights; and in the midst of these would be seen a gigantic, brown, hairy hand--which might have been mistaken for the Hand of Destiny, though, in truth, it was only the showman's--pointing its forefinger to various scenes of the conflict, while its owner gave historical illustrations. When, with much merriment at its abominable deficiency of merit, the exhibition was concluded, the German bade little Joe put his head into the box.
Viewed through the magnifying glasses, the boy's round, rosy visage assumed the strangest imaginable aspect of an immense Titanic child, the mouth grinning broadly, and the eyes and every other feature overflowing with fun at the joke. Suddenly, however, that merry face turned pale, and its expression changed to horror, for this easily impressed and excitable child had become sensible that the eye of Ethan Brand was fixed upon him through the glass. Ethan Brand gazed into the box for an instant, and then starting back, looked fixedly at the German.
What had he seen? Nothing, apparently; for a curious youth, who had peeped in almost at the same moment, beheld only a vacant space of canvas. By my faith, Captain, it has wearied my shoulders, this long day, to carry it over the mountain. The Jew's exhibition had scarcely concluded, when a great, elderly dog--who seemed to be his own master, as no person in the company laid claim to him--saw fit to render himself the object of public notice. Hitherto, he had shown himself a very quiet, well disposed old dog, going round from one to another, and, by way of being sociable, offering his rough head to be patted by any kindly hand that would take so much trouble.
But now, all of a sudden, this grave and venerable quadruped, of his own mere motion, and without the slightest suggestion from anybody else, began to run round after his tail, which, to heighten the absurdity of the proceeding, was a great deal shorter than it should have been. Never was seen such headlong eagerness in pursuit of an object that could not possibly be attained; never was heard such a tremendous outbreak of growling, snarling, barking, and snapping--as if one end of the ridiculous brute's body were at deadly and most unforgivable enmity with the other.
Faster and faster, round about went the cur; and faster and still faster fled the unapproachable brevity of his tail; and louder and fiercer grew his yells of rage and animosity; until, utterly exhausted, and as far from the goal as ever, the foolish old dog ceased his performance as suddenly as he had begun it. The next moment he was as mild, quiet, sensible, and respectable in his deportment, as when he first scraped acquaintance with the company. As may be supposed, the exhibition was greeted with universal laughter, clapping of hands, and shouts of encore, to which the canine performer responded by wagging all that there was to wag of his tail, but appeared totally unable to repeat his very successful effort to amuse the spectators.
Meanwhile, Ethan Brand had resumed his seat upon the log, and moved, it might be, by a perception of some remote analogy between his own case and that of this self-pursuing cur, he broke into the awful laugh, which, more than any other token, expressed the condition of his inward being. From that moment, the merriment of the party was at an end; they stood aghast, dreading lest the inauspicious sound should be reverberated around the horizon, and that mountain would thunder it to mountain, and so the horror be prolonged upon their ears.
Then, whispering one to another that it was late--that the moon was almost down--that the August night was growing chill--they hurried homewards leaving the lime-burner and little Joe to deal as they might with their unwelcome guest. Save for these three human beings, the open space on the hill-side was a solitude, set in a vast gloom of forest. Beyond that darksome verge, the fire-light glimmered on the stately trunks and almost black foliage of pines, intermixed with the lighter verdure of sapling oaks, maples, and poplars, while here and there lay the gigantic corpses of dead trees, decaying on the leaf-strewn soil.
And it seemed to little Joe--a timorous and imaginative child--that the silent forest was holding its breath, until some fearful thing should happen. Ethan Brand thrust more wood into the fire, and closed the door of the kiln; then looking over his shoulder at the lime-burner and his son, he bade, rather than advised, them to retire to rest.
I will watch the fire, as I used to do in the old time. For my part, I shall be all the better for a snooze. Come, Joe! As the boy followed his father into the hut, he looked back at the wayfarer, and the tears came into his eyes, for his tender spirit had an intuition of the bleak and terrible loneliness in which this man had enveloped himself.
Summary of Ethan Brand by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay
When they had gone, Ethan Brand sat listening to the crackling of the kindled wood, and looking at the little spirts of fire that issued through the chinks of the door. These trifles, however, once so familiar, had but the slightest hold of his attention, while deep within his mind he was reviewing the gradual but marvellous change that had been wrought upon him by the search to which he had devoted himself.
He remembered how the night dew had fallen upon him--how the dark forest had whispered to him--how the stars had gleamed upon him--a simple and loving man, watching his fire in the years gone by, and ever musing as it burned. He remembered with what tenderness, with what love and sympathy for mankind, and what pity for human guilt and woe, he had first begun to contemplate those ideas which afterwards became the inspiration of his life; with what reverence he had then looked into the heart of man, viewing it as a temple originally divine, and, however desecrated, still to be held sacred by a brother; with what awful fear he had deprecated the success of his pursuit, and prayed that the Unpardonable Sin might never be revealed to him.
Then ensued that vast intellectual development, which, in its progress, disturbed the counterpoise between his mind and heart. The Idea that possessed his life had operated as a means of education; it had gone on cultivating his powers to the highest point of which they were susceptible; it had raised him from the level of an unlettered laborer to stand on a star-lit eminence, whither the philosophers of the earth, laden with the lore of universities, might vainly strive to clamber after him.
Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Ethan Brand , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters.
Sort order. Feb 24, classic reverie rated it it was amazing Shelves: , short-stories , old-time-radio-reference , hawthorne , american-writer , religious-element-predominance , horror-classic , tragedy. I have many on his on my "to read" list and hopefully will read one of his novels this year but after listening to an OTR Old Time radio show last week and hearing again their version of " Ethan Brand", I was ready to take a dip into his world of stories.
I find many of my stories from the show, The Weird Circle. This series has their spin on an author's works, sometimes quite It has been a very, very long time since I read Nathaniel Hawthorne and that was "The Scarlet Letter" in high school. This series has their spin on an author's works, sometimes quite different which was the case in this story which aired February 13, I will start with my comments on his short story, it was more abstract, yes I will use that word not coming up with a better one.
Meaning, he tells of Ethan Brand who was looking for the "unpardonable sin" and left his home some twenty years ago and returns on one ominous night to the his origin. We are not told of what he did but that it had an effect on some. He uses a lot of symbolism to show of his mind's unrest, which I found the dog's lunacy of his crazy tail chase interesting. So this story is more mental floss than an out in out story which the radio show gave its listeners.
In that we see what harm he did to many and his reasoning which was pure evil. I could say more but in case someone wants to listen and has not heard this engrossing tale, I dare not spoil it. Even though both versions delve in a different paths, they both end up with the same conclusion which was the most poignant ending for a human to take heart and heed. View all 6 comments. What inspired it? The sight of a burning lime-kiln Hawthorne once glimpsed during a midnight walk on Mount Greylock. It tells of Ethan Brand, and his return to his old lime kiln after years of wandering.
Bartram sends his young son Joe down the hil,to inform the frequenters of the local tavern that Ethan Brand has returned, and soon a small crowd—including the local station-agent, an old man mourning for his missing daughter, and the Wandering Jew, who exhibitor of a mysterious diorama and seems to be acquainted with Brand—crowds around the legendary traveler. You can discover the fate of Ethan Brand for yourself. So much for the intellect! But where was the heart? That, indeed, had withered--had contracted--had hardened--had perished! It had ceased to partake of the universal throb.
He had lost his hold of the magnetic chain of humanity. He was no longer a brother-man, opening the chambers or the dungeons of our common nature by the key of holy sympathy, which gave him a right to share in all its secrets; he was now a cold observer, looking on mankind as the subject of his experiment, and, at length, converting man and woman to be his puppets, and pulling the wires that moved them to such degrees of crime as were demanded for his study. Thus Ethan Brand became a fiend. In the first introduction Hester is perceived as someone who does not care what other people think of her and will stare down the barrel of a gun.
The author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, compares Hester to her babe by showing how they are both shunned by the people viewing them. Hawthorne contrats them when Hester stands upon the scaffold with her head held high, while her babe cries out. As Hester walks out of her prison and stands upon the scaffold for viewing and public shame.
College classmate of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 2. Changed his last name 3. Charter member of Brook Farm, an agricultural collective 4. The Scarlet Letter sold well initially due to the excitement around the novel 's introduction, where Hawthorne attacked his political enemies 5. Moved to Liverpool, England to become. After this brief description, the story begins with a crowd gathering in front of the prison to see Hester Prynne serve her punishment.
There are a group of hard-featured women who debate the punishment Hester has been given. Romantic period authors, like Nathaniel Hawthorne, a prevalent example of a Romantic author from the 19th century, believed that people were getting too reliant on on science. Romantics were literary rebels who wrote about strong emotions, the supernatural, and the power of nature. The writing style of the previous century was known as the Age of Reason, the authors thought emotion was unnecessary; they loved science and wrote a lot of non-fiction.
The romantics wanted to remind people that there. The unpardonable sin, as one may interpret, is pride and self-gain.
Ethan Brand: A Chapter from an Abortive Romance
It is a loss of the brotherhood with man, and a loss of respect for God. Once this knowledge is gained, he faces alienation from all those around him. In searching for this sinful knowledge, Ethan Brand leads himself into intellectual isolation.