Listen Up

Hawthorne & Harrow & (You)

“No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

I haven’t thought about Hawthorne’s novel for quite some time (well except for…)


However, besides these funny scenes, I was struck with his words while watching a wonderfully brilliant show just recently wrapped from television.

Boardwalk Empire

To some, this means nothing. But to others – who have gotten to partake in the fine wine of writing this HBO show has gifted to us – I am sure you will agree that one character, in particular, steals the show.

Richard Harrow

 A war-torn marksman with a mask, yet so much more.

In a scene with Angela, his best friend’s wife, she asks if she could sketch him. He politely agrees. But, as the scene progresses, it becomes more than just a drawing session.

This was when I began to see Hawthorne’s Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale in my mind.

Both are tragically flawed because they wear two different faces.

*spoiler alert* do not read on if you don’t want spoilers!


Dimmesdale’s character becomes tormented. He is a reverend, but also an adulterer. He is the father of Hester’s child, Pearl. It ate away at him as the story progressed.  Although a great reverend, he now felt the weight of his sin bearing down on his soul. In the end, it is his secret that kills him.

Harrow reveals that before his assassin days, he once knew what love was. He cared very much for his sister, yet after the war, he was a different man. Throughout Season 4, he battles with himself. He goes back to the man he was before the war. He falls in love and steps away from the gun. However, in the end, the battle with what he knows himself to be corrupts the chance he has to be his true self. 

Both men struggled with who they were and who they showed the world. It’s something I think many of us deal with everyday. We may not don a mask (Harrow’s symbol of vulnerability) or have a scar (Dimmesdale’s carved ‘A’ in his chest), but there are situations where we all get muddled with who we want to be, who we are, and who others see us to be. My advise?

Be you

And be proud if it. Don’t let the weight of what you think you have to be, and what others think you are, ruin you. You may make a mistake; you may have to face a problem before you are ready; you may even lose track of who you are. That does not define you. You can always find your way back.

Harrow was a tragic character. There is a bit of Harrow in us all. But we are not tragic.

We are just beginning.

A son
A wife
A family 

He lived long enough to see his dream come true, but not long enough to enjoy it all.

Find your dream, and live it out. Be lost in reverie – or found in it.

Love, B. R. Wren

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