English Literature Research Comparison Essay

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EnglishLiterature: Research Comparison Essay

Comparisonbetween Hawthorne “Young Goodman Brown” and Gilman “The YellowWallpaper”

Personaland social influence indicates the changes in people’s thoughts,attitudes, and behavior when interacting with other people. Theexpression of an individual’s opinion and behavior to fit into aparticular group or people or situation initiates conformity to theirexpectations and requirements. Nevertheless, regardless of how peopleconform to such influence, their opinions and behaviors are notalways appropriate (Allan, 1249). Most importantly, power defines theability of an individual to drive people towards the participation intasks through coercion. It allows the people in charge to control theoutcomes of a particular action by forcing their followers toparticipate in the activities they desire. On the other hand,authority describes the legitimate power embedded in people thatallow them to exact their mandate on others. The use of theseelements allows people to influence others by determining theiractions in different situations. They also facilitate in thedetermination of the types of relationships among people. Accordingto research, power plays a significant role in the day-to-day socialinteractions through serving as an organizing principle in thebehavior and reaction of others. In addition, power and authoritytend to significantly affect the personal and social relationshipswithin an organization or a community (Allan, 1249). The essence ofthis paper entails determining to compare how the authors in thestories discussed present problems related to the presence andoperation of power dynamics in personal and social relationships.


Socialinfluence is characterized in terms of how people make significantchanges to their behavior and feelings based on how they interactwith other individuals who are perceived to be desirable.Additionally, people tend to make adjustments to their beliefs basedon respect for others whom they view as similar with respect topsychological principles such as balance. Power describes anindividual’s ability to exert influence on either their partners orpeople close to them with the aim of obtaining the specific outcomesthey desire in a given situation (Anderson, 318). The influencestrategies entail the higher-level goals as well as interpersonalapproaches that people in charge use in persuading others. Theauthors, Charles Perkin Gilman and Nathaniel Hawthorne, present theproblems related to the presence and operation of power dynamics inpersonal and social relationships by portraying the direct andindirect influence strategies employed (Anderson, 318). The problemsare presented in the following ways based on their occurrence in theauthors’ stories:

  1. In the story, The Yellow Wallpaper, John uses power to control and influence his wife’s reaction and behavior by claiming that she is not sick and yet she feels weak. He further informs their friends that she is not sick and his wife’s brother, a prominent physician, conquers with the idea leaving her helpless. For instance, John wife indicates that when a physician of high caliber such as her husband purports that she is not ill and proceeds to inform their friends that it was an instance of nervous depression, such utterances and actions limited her behavior. The author further elaborates the presence and operation of power through the brother to John’s wife, a doctor in the same caliber, who further supports the idea, which results in controlling her behavior (Martin, 736). The influence strategy employed in this situation entails indirect measures that involve covert but subtle ways if driving people towards obtaining the outcome desired.

  2. Additionally, in the story, Young Goodman Brown, the use of power drives the narrator to leave his wife and travel to a foreign land where he would follow an influential man to his destination. The man narrates of his encounters with other influential people with the aim of indicating his influence. The interaction with such admirable people in secretive and demonic affairs aims at portraying how power may negatively affect the social relationships between the leaders and their followers. For instance, the deacon and the other clergymen ought to be guiding people towards appropriate behavior and actions. However, they are depicted as leaders with ill motives through following devilish activities that mislead their followers (Nathaniel, 4).

Influencestrategies occur through the utilization of coordinated sets ofcontrol tactics that range from autocracy, manipulation, reasoningand coercion. These tactics are selected and employed with the aim ofhelping the people in control to achieve their objectives.Resultantly, the use and effectiveness of distinct influencestrategies and tactics depend on the type and magnitude of power thepeople in charge hold over their followers (Anderson, John, andKeltener, 326). Nevertheless, the magnitude of power an individualholds over their partner or people close to them in situations suchas household duties or financial decision-making affects how theyboth think, feel and behave. It also affects the individual’sattempt to influence each other in the way they conduct theirday-to-day activities (Anderson, John, and Keltener, 326).

Thedifferences in power and influence strategies employed bring aboutsignificant impacts on the short and long-term outcomes withinrelationships. These outcomes include stability, satisfaction, andgratitude over time. Additionally, power differences affect thecognitive, emotional and behavioral propensities of one or bothparties in the relationship (Lamanna, Agnes, and Susan, 141). Theauthors manage to accentuate the problems related to the presence andoperation of power dynamics in personal and social relationshipsthrough the following instances.

  1. According to the story, The Yellow Page, the character John exerts his power over his wife thus determining and influencing the outcome of the objectives. The power exerted by John over his wife affected her behavior, emotions as well as cognitive tendencies. For instance, he intervenes in her activities through restricting her decisions based on various issues. John’s wife points out her displeasure with the room they secured in that she had opted for another one that was furnished appropriately. However, John would not agree with his wife’s requirements and proceed to secure a room that suited his needs and desires (Martin, 736).

  2. Similarly, Hawthorne illustrates these problems through portraying the fact that demonic powers negatively influenced the narrator to indulge in immoral activities. However, he managed to overcome the influence and fought the temptation that allowed him to persevere evil deeds. In addition, overcoming the temptation indicates that he was able to see those who undertook evil deeds despite their proclamation of righteousness (Nathaniel, 7).

  3. Most importantly, the authors agree on the fact that power influences the interpersonal contexts through the use of distinct strategies and tactics. Socially, influence occurs in instances where the presence and action of one individual bring about alterations in the attitudes and beliefs as well as the behavior of other people. Additionally, power utilizes diverse influence strategies, which bring about unique effects on the targets. For instance, coercive power occurs through the perception of followers/ subjects that the people in charge possess the ability to punish them for committing or omitting some factors. In addition, the use of such elements entails controlling undesirable and adverse behaviors with threats to punishment. For instance in the case of John in the story, The Yellow page, is depicted as an instance where he controls the behavioral traits of the other individual. He managed to manipulate and control his wife’s behavior by blaming her for their visit to the ranch thus resulting in a shift in behavior that affected their relationship (Martin, 736).

  4. Similarly, in the story, Young Goodman Brown, the power exerted on other people drives the subjects to comply with the requests made without questioning the occurrence of a particular situation (Nathaniel, 8). These requests bring out the challenges involved in the presence and operation of power dynamics in personal and social relationships. For instance, the narrator meets an old woman, Goody Cloyse, on his transit to the communion who taught Goodman his catechism. However, their meeting in the forest at dark occurred under the request to assemble at the communion where the minister, the deacon and his wife, Faith, were in attendance. These occurrences affect Goodman’s perspective of life because he had believed in the religion and adored them based on their essence to his life. The deacon and the minister indicate powerful individuals who possessed the ability to influence others towards righteousness. However, the same leaders are portrayed as deceitful individuals who influence their followers negatively by misleading them thus affecting their behaviors and actions (Nathaniel, 9).

  5. Additionally, Hawthorne utilizes characters playing the roles of witches and devils to accentuate their existence and influence on people’s behavior and reaction. For instance, the use of these grotesque creatures indicate the effects of their power in personal and social relationships through bringing out fear and guilt in people (Nathaniel, 11). In addition, after returning home, Goodman develops doubts about the existence of human beings if they possessed the ability to positively influence his life and later appear at a communion in the company of sinners. The evil power indicated in this scenario affects his relationship with his wife as well as the belief in righteousness. The presence and operation of such power exert severe effects to Goodman to an extent that he dies a miserable man. The effects are similarly accentuated by Gilman who portrays how the control exerted by John over his wife negatively affect her mental state as well as their relationship. She is forced to stay in their room the entire day monitored by their assistant. The effects escalate to an extent where she cannot attend to their baby nor carry out her daily activities such as writing.


Theincidents highlighted in both stories indicate the fact the presenceand operation of power dynamics bring about various problems inpersonal and social relationships. The people in control tend toexert a germane amount of power that influences their loved ones tobehave and react in a certain way. These behaviors differ based onthe way power is exerted where some use coercion while othersmanipulate their subjects into achieving their desired goals.


Allan,Blake&nbspA. &quotBalance among Character Strengths and Meaning inLife.&quot&nbspJournalof Happiness Studies,vol.&nbsp16, no.&nbsp5,&nbsp2014, pp.&nbsp1247-1261.

Anderson,C, John, O. P., &amp Keltener, D. &quotThePersonal Sense of Power.&quot&nbspJournalof Personality,vol.&nbsp80, no.&nbsp2,&nbsp2012, pp.&nbsp313-344.

Lamanna,Mary A, Agnes C. Riedman, and Susan Stewart.&nbspMarriages,Families, and Relationships: Making Choices in a DiverseSociety.&nbsp2018.

Martin,Diana. &quotCharlotte Perkins Gilman and “The YellowWallpaper”.&quot&nbspAmericanJournal of Psychiatry,vol.&nbsp164, no.&nbsp5,&nbsp2007, pp.&nbsp736-736.

NathanielHawthorne. &quotYoung Goodman Brown.&quot&nbspMossesfrom an Old Manse,&nbsp1835,www.eldritchpress.org/nh/ygb.html. Accessed 13&nbspMar.&nbsp2017.