Young Goodman Brown

Essay by rmtz16College, UndergraduateA, March 2008

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"Young Goodman Brown", is the struggle between Goodman Brown's faith power to resist his own evil impulses and his own doubts within him. The story is a personal conflict over his internal desires and its greater meaning conflict between good and evil. The characteristics of Young Goodman Brown are similar to the life of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Nathaniel Hawthorne had his own doubts about his own Puritan life and beliefs. The story of "Young Goodman Brown" is also a mystery story of evil. In the story the author creates a kind of suspense and anxiety by establishing a dark and demonic tone too.

In the beginning of the story at the threshold of the front door of his house, a young man named Goodman Brown kisses his wife, Faith, he says goodbye and embarks on a journey into the forest. He is not to return until the next morning.

But what activity would attract him away from his pretty wife, whom he married three months before, and into the dark and menacing uncertainty of the woods? Well it is a meeting at which he and others from Salem and surrounding communities are to be inducted into an evil brotherhood.

In the forest, he meets a mysterious man with a staff resembling a snake, and together they travel on. The man appears to be a devil figure. During the forest journey, Brown expresses a desire to turn back, but his feet continue to carry him forward. Along the way, upright citizens even members of the clergy pass by on their way to the meeting while Brown hides behind trees and watches. At the site of the meeting, he suffers a terrible shock when he discovers that his wife Faith was also there. When a "Shape of Evil" prepares to baptize...