Judge Pycheon Essay, Research Paper
Kryptonite. Even Superman had a weakness that could lead to his death in a matter of minutes. Why? No man is all-powerful or has no flaws. Does true character always shine through one’s public persona? The answer is no. In the House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne effectively shows his disgust towards Judge Pyncheon whose later exposed as someone different from his public image.
What breathes life and interest into the passage? It is Hawthorne’s deft use of sarcasm and his cunning delivery intertwined with society’s. The first verbal attack is placed in parenthesis as a kind of foot-note revealing his real thoughts alerting to the verbal irony. Hawthorne says ” without, in the least, imputing crime to a personage of his eminent responsibility.” The part that says ” in the least” clarifies that Hawthorne is being sarcastic tone. Moreover, what does Hawthorne call Pyncheon’s whole being and life as? ” Splendid rubbish.” It would have been an opportune time to just leave it as ” rubbish.” However, the oxymoron shows how he is holding back and ” sugarcoating” the assault with a positive adjective preceding it. It foreshadows the rest of the passage making clear to the reader to not drift off elsewhere. The comment is also a metaphor to Pyncheon’s hypocrisy and ” two- facedness” in his lifestyle and moral judgment. The style of delivery used is very distinctive. It seems that the reader is in for a boxing match between Hawthorne’s and society’s view of Pyncheon. For example, Pycheon is placed on a pedestal as having” purity of judicial character, while on the bench.” The latter portion of the quote demonstrates the benevolent mask that the Judge is wearing yet only ” while on bench.” Hawthorne chimes in at the last moment calling Pyncheon into question. Later, Hawthorne testifies that, ” He had adhered to its principles, or, at all events, kept pace with organized movements.” The beginning of the comment has a positive connotation.
Yet Pyncheon is jabbed at again as being righteous only when he has to be. But his character and purity, in reality, are severely flawed and occasional. The next statement is a dagger to Pyncheon as an inhumane and numb man. Judge Pyncheon sees his son as a ” cast-off, an expensive and dissipated son.” Pyncheon is ironically regarded for his righteousness, but has no love for his beloved son? He treats his son as a burdensome object hoarding time from his precious life: ” delaying forgiveness until the final quarter of an hour of the young man’s life.” Society does not see Hawthorne’s hard-heartedness and lack of conscience. To take drastic circumstances and brake his hatred in the very last minutes of his dying son’s short life, is not right. Although, doesn’t the narrator say that Pyncheon was wholesome and had ” efforts in furtherance of the temperance-cause”? It is obviously totally false if it is considered to restrain oneself to a mere ” five diurnal glasses of old sherry wine.” This drinking is not monthly or weekly but daily and habitual. The periodic sentence concludes with an ironic effect with, ” What room could possibly be found for darker traits?” After both sides have been scrutinized and revealed, Hawthorne explains that the public was misdirected by the ” looking glass.” Society was judging Pyncheon by his material wealth and status alone- a misrepresentation of the truth. Then, the final round of battle’s bell rang loudly. Hawthorne delivers the fatal blow to society’s nose. Hawthorne seizes the last word calling the Judge an ” early and reckless youth… committed some one wrong act or that.” Pyncheon is put under intense question from this point. The man who ” studied propriety of his dress and equipment” and ” cleanliness of his moral deportment” is a deceiver and a sham. Judge Pyncheon’s mentality is dissected as Hawthorne exclaims, ” Should one questionable deed…overshadow the fair aspect of a lifetime!” Hawthorne is logically hinting that the severity of Pyncheon’s shortcomings does indeed overshadow some of his public acts. Pyncheon is belittled as ” a hard, cold man seldom or never looking inward.” He has his chin so high in the sky that he metaphorically cannot see the inside of himself. This is definitely not a surprise after the tongue-lashing Hawthorne has obliged him with. He, moreover, says that Pyncheon will not change ” except through loss of property or reputation.” He is concerned more with having wealth and status than anything else. Not even ” sickness…will help him to it; not always the death hour,” will break Judge Pyncheon’s stubbornness. The Judge is totally caught up with the public’s holier-than-thou image of him that his he sees himself free of imperfections.
The style of Hawthorne is deft and effective. His examination of Pyncheons two-facedness is formatted like a courtroom interrogation with Pyncheon on the witness chair. The climatic last tirade of the narrator releases all of Hawthorne’s disgust and revulsion in a captivating fashion. The organization and attention to what the reader is expecting keep the argument subtle and critical.