Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sunday at Home

Sunday at Home

In this essay Hawthorne meditates on the church he can see from his home, explains why he does not attend services, and describes the people he sees. The musings I found most interesting involved oral sermons, race, and maiden dress.

I sympathize with Hawthorne's admission that he cannot follow an oral sermon as well as a written one. The first strong idea, which the preacher utters, gives birth to a train of thought, and leads me onward, step by step, quite out of hearing of the good man's voice... I have never been able to listen to audiobooks for this reason and I am frustrated with webinars, podcasts and video blogging. One pithy comment distracts me and I get lost in my own reveries. I need a written transcript so when my mind wanders I will have the chance to come back and pick up where my attention wandered. Once again, Hawthorne affirms I am not alone, though apparently we are part of a minority.

I had been wondering where Hawthorne stood on the subject of abolition and then I read this reaction to the black members of the congregation leaving the service: Poor souls! To them, the most captivating picture of bliss in Heaven, is--"There we shall be white!" I am not sure what I make of that, but at least I have a statement which doesn't purport to be from the mouth of a fictional character.

Finally, Hawthorne commented on the clothing pretty girls wear to church. In a few short sentences he suggests that the girls should dress more demurely because even a saint would be distracted by their displays. He notes that the girls are flashing their ankles and attracting attention with white socks rather than black.

On to the next story...

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