The story begins at dusk in Salem Village, Massachusetts as young Goodman Brown leaves Faith, his wife of three months, for some unknown errand in the forest. Faith pleads with her husband to stay with her, but he insists that the journey must be completed that night. In the forest he meets an older man, dressed in a similar manner and bearing a physical resemblance to himself.
The man carries a black serpent -shaped staff. Deeper in the woods, the two encounter Goody Cloyse, an older woman, whom Young Goodman had known as a boy and who had taught him his catechism. Cloyse complains about the need to walk; the older man throws his staff on the ground for the woman and quickly leaves with Brown. Other townspeople inhabit the woods that night, traveling in the same direction as Goodman Brown. When he hears his wife's voice in the trees, he calls out but is not answered.
He then runs angrily through the forest, distraught that his beautiful Faith is lost somewhere in the dark, sinful forest. He soon stumbles upon a clearing at midnight where all the townspeople assembled. At the ceremony , which is carried out at a flame-lit altar of rocks, the newest acolytes are brought forth—Goodman Brown and Faith. They are the only two of the townspeople not yet initiated.
Goodman Brown calls to heaven and Faith to resist and instantly the scene vanishes. Arriving back at his home in Salem the next morning, Goodman Brown is uncertain whether the previous night's events were real or a dream, but he is deeply shaken, and his belief he lives in a Christian community is distorted.
He loses his faith in his wife, along with all of humanity. He lives his life an embittered and suspicious cynic, wary of everyone around him. The story concludes: "And when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave The story is set during the Salem witch trials , at which Hawthorne's great-great-grandfather John Hathorne was a judge, guilt over which inspired the author to change his family's name, adding a "w" in his early twenties, shortly after graduating from college.
In "Young Goodman Brown", as with much of his other writing, he utilizes ambiguity. It did not include Hawthorne's name and was instead credited "by the author of 'The Gray Champion'". To convey the setting, he used literary techniques such as specific diction, or colloquial expressions. Language of the period is used to enhance the setting. Hawthorne gives the characters specific names that depict abstract pure and wholesome beliefs, such as "Young Goodman Brown" and "Faith".
The characters' names ultimately serve as a paradox in the conclusion of the story. The inclusion of this technique was to provide a definite contrast and irony. Hawthorne aims to critique the ideals of Puritan society and express his disdain for it, thus illustrating the difference between the appearance of those in society and their true identities.
Literary scholar Walter Shear writes that Hawthorne structured the story in three parts. The first part shows Goodman Brown at his home in his village integrated in his society. The third part shows his return to society and to his home, yet he is so profoundly changed that in rejecting the greeting of his wife Faith, Hawthorne shows Goodman Brown has lost faith and rejected the tenets of his Puritan world during the course of the night. The story is about Brown's loss of faith as one of the elect, according to scholar Jane Eberwein.
Believing himself to be of the elect, Goodman Brown falls into self-doubt after three months of marriage which to him represents sin and depravity as opposed to salvation. His journey to the forest is symbolic of Christian "self-exploration" in which doubt immediately supplants faith. At the end of the forest experience he loses his wife Faith, his faith in salvation, and his faith in human goodness. Years later he wrote, "These stories were published Stephen King has referred to "Young Goodman Brown" as "one of the ten best stories written by an American".
He calls it his favorite story by Hawthorne and cites it as an inspiration for his O. Modern scholars and critics generally view the short story as an allegorical tale written to expose the contradictions in place concerning Puritan beliefs and societies. He is the protagonist, and as always he is looking for new followers. Goody Cloyse was the woman dubbed as a witch in the Salem Witch Trials, and she ultimately lost her life during the era of the Puritans.
She is considered flat and static because her character remains unchanged, and quite frankly exposes her true self without shame. This stems from the fact that he is merely used as an image to belittle the strength of man for Goodman Brown. The Minister, yet another man of God, is a flat and static character and travelling companion of Deacon Gookin. He serves no real purpose other than contributing to illustrating the fall of those who we hold dear with our salvation.
What: A young husband ventures into parts unknown to meet a man, against the better judgment of himself and his wife; ironically named Faith. Throughout the duration of this journey he realizes that everything he holds in high regard has been touched by the beast. At last he is broken and makes the ultimate sacrifice to become a follower and not a leader.
Where: The story takes place along a dreadful path that leads into the woods and the majority of the story takes place on the road. The final scene occurs in the streets of Salem, Massachusetts; at this time the illusion of what Brown has believed the world truly is comes back into focus.
Why: Brown, almost appears as a virgin to the ways of the world. It emerges within our law enforcement, government, teachers, and last but not least the church. Men have also been known to place their wives in an official position, regardless of the image of their dominance over them.
I helped tour grandfather, the constable, when he lashed the Quaker woman so smartly through the streets of Salem. Aside from the ways of life passed down from his predecessors and catechism schooling Brown ventures out into the night. He knows that the advisory of man awaits him but he appears to be unnerved by the matter.
The hellfire and brimstone that he grew to fear, did not allow him awareness that he is in the presence of the oldest evil ever known. Lost with in his ignorance the Devil merely shows him what he knows will be enough to bend his will, and justly he succeeds. The Devil is a liar. He appears to Brown as a non-threating old man to secure his trust. Even throughout the course of religion the Devil has taken on many forms to entice man.
Even with the signature signs of the presence of evil, they go unnoticed. As a society, we have adapted of image of the Devil to be this foul and sinister looking creature. With the blinders perfectly in place, Brown never really sees it coming.
But the only thing about him, that could be fixed upon as remarkable, was his staff which bore likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought, that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself, like a serpent. This, of course, must have been an ocular deception, assisted by uncertain light.
Among the prevailing themes are the banality of evil, the ignorance of man, and the greatest trick the devil achieved was convincing man he did not exist. Evil exists in all walks of life as it has since its origin. But as conscious humans we must accept and beware of its existence. Ultimately, the survival of our souls depends on it. Reference Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.
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