Ethan Brand is one of Hawthorne's many fallen characters. At the outset
a decent fellow, he succumbs to the temptations offered by meditative solitude
and, his consequent pursuit of an intellectual abstraction, the Unpardonable
Sin, turns his heart to stone. A deeper understanding of the moral lesson
Brand presents can be gained by comparing him with other Hawthorne villains.
Look especially at
Roger Chillingworth of The Scarlet Letter,
Young Goodman Brown of "Young Goodman Brown," Reverend
Hooper of "The Minister's Black Veil," and Richard
Digby of "The Man of Adamant." What characteristics do these figures share?
What hints does Hawthorne provide his readers as to what it might take to
rehabilitate them? How does their shared plight help you clarify your understanding
of Hawthorne's attitude toward artists and intellectuals?