The Truth About Lying By Judith Viorst

1346 WordsSep 28, 20176 Pages
In “Young Goodman Brown,” Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays a married man disillusioned by the townspeople’s complicity in evil. In the tale, Brown discovers that every wholesome person he knows, including his wife, are in league with the devil. His life after the night that he discovers this truth is one of cynicism and depression, as he regards everyone to be a facade of who they truly are. Conventional wisdom would uphold this condemnation of dishonesty. However, in Judith Viorst’s “The Truth About Lying,” she presents a reality where various types of dishonesty-social, peacekeeping, protective, trust-keeping- are necessary. I believe that lying is morally right only if it facilitates harmonious social interactions between people. Lies meant…show more content…
To give an example, imagine a close friend of yours is singing in a choir or play. After their performance, they ask you what you thought of their performance. If you believed that it was mediocre at best, it would be a grave mistake to tell them that. Doing so would crush their spirit and destroy your friendship with them. If you consider “you sang great” to be too much of a boldfaced lie, then what Viorst calls a “polite evasion” such as “you sang your heart out” will do just fine. Such falsehoods may seem morally wrong at first glance. However, they facilitate positive interactions rather than discord. Hawthorne demonstrates social lying in his story through Goodman Brown’s interaction with his wife, Faith. Brown, who has plans to meet with a shady character that night, tells her, “this one night must I tarry away from thee. My journey, as thou callest it, forth and back again, must needs be done 'twixt now and sunrise”. Hawthorne communicates the more subtle type of social lie known as omission. Brown leaves out the motives for his departure that night, depriving his wife of the truth. I do not endorse dishonesty to one’s significant other. Yet a sober analysis of the matter reveals that Brown does this to preserve his relationship with his wife. By promising her that he will return by sunup, Brown partakes in social lying through omission, in an effort to keep the good will in their marriage. This corresponds with the social lying that Viorst

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