The Grizzly Saints vs. the Gay Sinners: How does Hawthorne portray the characters in the "Maypole of Merrymount".

Essay by Vizion117High School, 11th gradeA+, February 2003

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I believe that Hawthorne is more partial to the people of Merry Mount. He portrays the Puritans in a more negative light from the very beginning. In the first real mention of the Puritans in "The May Pole of Merry Mount" is right after Edgar and Edith, Lord and Lady of the May get married. In the story Hawthorne tells how "Two hundred years ago, and more, the old world and its inhabitants became mutually weary of each other. Men voyaged by the thousands to the West". Some came to barter goods; others came to "conquer virgin empires"; but the people of Marry Mount simply came to get away from the old world and to establish a life based on a philosophy of pleasure. They came to live in pure happiness with no troubles or worries. All was fine and well until their life of gayness and festivity was "...discountenanced

by the rapid growth of Puritanism."

It is false to say the people of Merry Mount where trouble and worry free; while living a life of constant festivity. Although it might at first it may seem that the people of Merry Mount didn't have a care in the world, a more detailed look shows us a group of people so desperately trying to hide and unhappy emotions and to conceal any pain or suffering that might be. To me it seems that the people of Merry Mount attempt to solve all their problems by pretending as if they have no problems. The conversation between Edith and Edgar clearly shows the sadness that exists on Merry Mount (at least between Edith and Edgar). "...dear Edgar, I struggle as with a dream, and fancy that these shapes of our jovial friends are visionary, and their mirth unreal, and that we...