”Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne Sample Essay

“Young Goodman Brown” is a short narrative by the American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. The narrative made its first visual aspect in the New England Magazine for April 1835 and was collected in Mosses from an Old Manse in 1846. The narrative is set in the Puritan New England. a common scene for Hawthorne’s plants. and like most of the narratives in Mosses. “Young Goodman Brown” examines Hawthorne’s favourite subjects: the loss of spiritual religion. presence of enticement. and societal ailments of Puritan communities. These subjects. along with the story’s dark. phantasmagoric stoping. do “Young Goodman Brown” one of the Hawthorne’s most popular short narratives. In order to understand “Young Goodman Brown” we must. like the writer himself go back some four hundred old ages into to the yesteryear. to the seventeenth century. in the clip of the Puritans. In this narrative Hawthorne mentions three dark events from the Puritans’ history: the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. the Puritan intolerance of the Quakers. and King Philip’s War. It is necessary to indicate out the chief features and beliefs of the Puritan instructions for the better apprehension of the society to which the supporter belongs to.

Puritan civilization emphasized the demand for self-contemplation and the rigorous accounting for one’s feelings every bit good as one’s workss. They believed in the transition experience. an epiphany. which signified that a individual was chosen to be among God’s chosen. and this belief was the centre of evangelical experience. The Puritan divinity rested chiefly upon the philosophy of predestination and the inefficacy of good plants ; it separated work forces aggressively and surely into two groups. the saved and the damned. and. technically. at least. was non concerned with any elusive shadings. The words of the Bible. as they interpreted them. were the beginning of many Puritan cultural ideals. particularly sing the functions of work forces and adult females in the community. Harmonizing to this learning both sexes were iniquitous for they carried the discoloration of aboriginal wickedness. the wickednesss of Adam and Eve. which in Puritan eyes. extended to whole humanity. The Puritan church insisted that its congregants lead godly lives and exhibit a clear apprehension of the chief rules of their Christian religion. and they besides had to show that they had experienced
true grounds of the workings of God’s grace in their psyche. Merely those who gave a convincing history of such an epiphany could be admitted to full church rank. and could hold been called God’s chosen.

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Order in the household basically structured Puritan belief. Authority and obeisance were the chief features which constituted the relationship between Puritan parents and their kids. The historical events in the narrative are non cardinal. but they inform the action. Hawthorne was really much interested in them. and while researching the local history of New England he made a really of import find. His seventeenth century ascendants from his father’s side were of import political and spiritual leaders of Salem. “Young Goodman Brown” was influenced by this Puritan heritage. Hawthorne looked on his ascendants both with a sense of pride every bit good as guilt. They were the beginning of his pride because they belonged to a outstanding and complete coevals. but he besides felt ashamed because they took portion in enchantress tests and were really intolerant towards the Quakers.

In “Young Goodman Brown” the Satan tells Brown that “I helped your gramps. the constable. when he lashed the Quaker adult female so smartly” ( Hawthorne 17 ) . With this narrative the writer is knocking the monstrous enchantress tests and inflexible Puritan philosophy of the seventeenth century. Apart from its historical context in “Young Goodman Brown” . some critics consider that it was besides influenced by his personality which in the clip this narrative was written had already acquired a slightly disbelieving expression on life. full of dichotomies ; and these mental and moral beliefs are revealed in the narrative ( Johnson 35 ) . Like his supporter. Hawthorne is besides fighting with his moral strong beliefs ( Donaldson 2133 ) . Analysis of the Major Fictional characters

The characters in this narrative are generic. they belong to the class of “flat characters” . for they do non alter in the class of the narrative. nor are they elaborated and characterized in an extended manner. but are built around a individual thought which represents the nucleus of the narrative. They are besides allegorical. combined together to do an all widening metaphor of the narrative and their map is implied in their names. which are extremely symbolical. The full narration is a representation of the human soul’s fighting with enticement and uncertainty. and with the loss of religion and its effects. “Young Goodman Brown” is an fable about the find of immorality. and the autumn of adult male. from which Hawthorne illustrates his position of the doomed fallibility and lip service in the Puritan faith.

1. Young Goodman Brown
Much of this story’s extended organic structure of unfavorable judgment centres on its title’s character. whose name is extremely symbolical. The first portion of the name. Young. signifies rawness. artlessness and ignorance of certain cognition ? cognition of wickedness and of immorality in the universe and the people that surround him. The journey he takes into the wood could be interpreted as an act of maturating. turning up. The 2nd portion of the name. Goodman was a rubric used in the seventeenth century. and it was applied to a hubby or the maestro of the family. And eventually. Brown. which is his household name and a really common one. intents in the sense that he can be compared to Everyman. the representative of the whole humanity ; besides. brown. as a colour. is a mixture of white and black ? the two colourss as symbols represent two sides of humanity. two resistances. good and evil ; it can besides stand for artlessness which is tainted by experience and immorality. Young Goodman Brown could besides be compared to the first adult male. Adam. who was tempted by the Satan to eat the out fruit from the tree of cognition. and in this narrative we have Brown traveling into the whole wood. confronting the whole wood. Like Adam in the book of Genesis. Goodman can non assist himself from desiring to cognize what lies behind the enigma of the wood.

And like Eve. he is rewarded for his wonder with the truth that changes his life for the worse. In the class of the ceremonial. the Devil tells Brown and Faith that their eyes will now be opened to the evil of themselves and those around them. Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden. and forced to undergo all the tests of being mortal. human. and Goodman Brown returns from the wood to happen that the joy of life has been taken off from him. He has become leery of those around him. even the individual closest to him. his married woman Faith. From this we can see that “Young Goodman Brown” besides functions as an fable of the autumn of a adult male. which is besides one of the subjects of this narrative. At the really beginning of the narrative. before puting out on his journey. Goodman Brown appears to be a really confident immature adult male for he is guiltless and inexperient. Upon his return we are given the image of a really changed adult male. To demo how this alteration occurs. maybe it would be good to give a brief recording of what really happened in the narrative. and through it explore our hero.

In the gap of the narrative it has to be noted that every word is of great importance “Young Goodman Brown came away at sunset into the street of Salem Village ; but put his caput back after traversing the threshold. to interchange a farewell buss with his immature wife” ( Hawthorne 1 ) She pleads to “put off his journey until dawn. ” ( Hawthorne 2 ) but he responds that he can non “My journey. as thou callest it. Forth and back once more. must inevitably be done ‘twix now and dawn. ’” ( Hawthorne 3 ) . This nocturnal journey he takes is done under the influence of strong cravings. It is a journey each must take entirely. in fright. off from place and the community. from witting. mundane life. to the wilderness where the concealed ego. the subconscious resides. It should non get away us that he did fight for a piece whit the enticement that was devouring him. but eventually succumbed to it. At the point of his leave he is incognizant of the gravitation of the measure he has taken. In the forests he meets the fellow-traveler. in visual aspect a adult male who bears a great resemblance to him and who carries a staff “which bore the similitude of a great serpent. so oddly wrought that it might about be seen to writhe and writhe itself like a life serpent” ( Hawthorne 12 ) .

That this figure is a supernatural animal is made really obvious when he reprimands Goodman for being late. by noting that “the clock of the Old South was striking as I came through Boston. and that is full 15 proceedingss agone” ( Hawthorne 10 ) . To this Brown answers “Faith maintain me back a while” ( Hawthorne 11 ) . This vocalization meant that he was non certain of the action he was taking ; he was still fighting with the enticement. seeking to get the better of it. However. they proceed. but Goodman Brown is still loath and at one point refuses to go on the journey. particularly bearing in head his ascendants. who were the pride of his community. To this the traveller confronts him with the truth. stating that his forbears were nil godly in the least. stating him that he knew them. and that he helped his gramps. the constable. “when he lashed the Quaker adult female so smartly” ( Hawthorne 17 ) .

This is an autobiographical component. already mentioned in the introductory portion. But. still Goodman Brown refuses to believe him. for the seed of incredulity has non jet strongly penetrated his bosom. They shortly overtake Goody Cloyse. “a really pious and model dame” ( Hawthorne 25 ) . who had taught Goodman his catechism. That she was in the forests with the same intent as Brown is made really clear when she starts discoursing with the Devil. and stating him how she is looking frontward to their nocturnal meeting. for she knows that there is a youngman to be taken into Communion. and besides adverting her broom handle. stating it was stolen by “that unhanged enchantress. Goody Corey” ( Hawthorne 31 ) . Even though he is disillusioned with his old instructor. and in a manner wise man. Brown is still loath in giving himself over to enticement. and refuses to continue any farther. Unalarmed by his opposition the Devil gives him his staff to assist him on his manner when he decides to continue. and leaves him to rest for a piece. The staff that Brown was given could be interpreted as the seed of uncertainty. planted by the Devil. go forthing him to fight with it. While waiting. Deacon Gookin and the curate of the community drive by and besides evidently on their manner to the coven. Brown is bewildered and is seeking to pray. he cries “With Eden above and Faith below. I will yet stand house against the Satan! ” ( Hawthorne 45 ) .

The minute when the supporter gives manner to despair is when he sees one of Faith’s pink threads fliting down through the air. He cries “My Faith is gone! ” ( Hawthorne 49 ) . This vocalization. of class. has a dual significance ; it means that the one individual Brown cherished more than anything in the universe. his bellowed married woman. angelic-like Faith. has betrayed him. deceived him by doing him believe so blindly in her pureness. And since she is both an allegorical character. standing for Brown’s religion in general. it means that he has none any longer. Feeling that he has no longer anything sacred in this universe. Goodman Brown pushes on to the coven to fall in the blasted. There he will lay eyes on everyone from the Salem Village. the good and the bad. the godly and the wicked all assorted together. joined in “one discoloration of guilt. one mighty blood spot” ( Hawthorne 62 ) . Brown evokes his religion one more clip. seeking to forestall himself and his married woman from having the devilish baptism. and the full vanishes. and Brown finds himself all entirely in the wood.

When Young Goodman Brown returns to Salem Village with the forenoon visible radiation. “staring around him like a baffled adult male. ” ( Hawthorne 69 ) he finds everything in perfect order. everyone traveling about the Lord’s work. Faith greets him at the door giving no mark of any sort of alteration. Goodman Brown is non certain whether the night’s event was a world or non. but this does non even matter. The uncertainty exists. and like a malignant neoplastic disease turning and distributing uncertainty on everyone around him. poisoning everything homo in him. Since his eyes have eventually been unfastened to the true. evil nature of his fellowmen he ineluctably knows that what he suspected of himself is true of all work forces. From now on he must populate with that painful cognition. and it makes him a disillusioned. an unhappy. and a glooming adult male ; a adult male that is disbelieving of everyone that surrounds him. He had no true religion. for the experience. although painful. should hold made him stronger. but he succumbed to his heartache and gave in to despair. incarcerating himself in the snake pit of his ain creative activity. doomed to isolation everlastingly.

Young Goodman Brown’s traveling into to the wood could be besides interpreted. as he stands for all of humanity. as an call against the hypocritical norms of the Puritan society ; but. as he lacks the most of import quality ? strength of religion ? he ends up every bit empty as a shell. bereft of any sort of emotion. without any sort of significance in life ; Goodman Brown becomes the really thing he is contending against ? a stereotyped gloomy Puritan. The disclosure that he had in the terminal ? that no 1 is wholly good or evil. but that everyone is a mixture of both ? is represented in the wood. which can be seen as the symbol of the Puritan universe. by both the representatives of good nature embodied in the religious leaders. pious people. seniors of the church. chaste dolls and virgins. and of evil nature. which are portrayed by the work forces of dissolute lives and adult females of patched celebrity. wretches given over to all mean and foul frailty ( Hawthorne 55 ) . “It was unusual to see that the good shrank non from the wicked. nor were the evildoers abashed by the saints” ( Hawthorne 55 ) . This shows to exemplify that there are two sides to everyone. good and bad. The people in the community were non saints as Goodman Brown idolized them.

2. Religion
Faith is the married woman of Young Goodman Brown. to whom he has been married merely for three months. She is strictly an allegorical character. to be more precise “she is at one time an allegorical thought and the agencies by which the thought is inverted” ( Levy 116 ) . “Not the least terrific facet of the narrative is the innuendo that Faith has made her ain independent compact with the Devil. There is a weak suggestion that her complicity may be anterior to and deeper than Brown’s” ( Levy 120 ) . In add-on to this “If he [ Brown ] believed in the certainty of corruption and merely the possibility of redemption. as the [ Puritan ] catechism Teachs. he would cognize that even so righteous a individual as Faith is corrupt and non needfully of the chosen. visual aspects notwithstanding” ( Franklin 73 ) . Faith’s name already tells us her significance in the narrative. for she stands for Goodman Brown’s religion in God. religion in angelic nature of the people in his community. and religion in the religious leaders. the chosens of God. If we are to see Goodman Brown as the first adult male. so Faith can be seen as Eve. the first adult female. She is besides under a similar irresistible impulse as Brown. and she tries to carry him to remain at place. for both hers every bit good as his interest. but her efforts turn out to be unsuccessful. This could be seen as the lake of religion on Brown’s portion. One outstanding characteristic about Faith are her pink threads.

The colour pink bears a significance. as in the instance of her name. for they have a symbolic function ; the colour pink represents a mixture of ruddy and white ? ruddy standing for Faith’s passion and gender. while the colour white symbolizes a women’s pureness and artlessness. Her threads can therefore. represent tainted artlessness. or corrupt morality of the whole human race. “Brown calls out three times for Faith to come to his assistance. and non until he [ Brown ] sees a pink thread from Faith’s cap that has fluttered down from the sky and caught on the subdivision of a tree does he abandon hope. . . . [ It is ] the touchable grounds of Faith’s desertion” ( Levy 117 ) . Besides. “The pink thread seen in the wood may be simply a lubricious projection of the Goodman’s depraved illusion. which wills evil. . . even as it reluctantly departs from its forfeited innocence” ( Abel 136 ) . Since Faith’s allegorical map has already been explained. possibly we could detect her from a different position. Before shiping on his journey. Brown considers his married woman to be an angel. a perfect animal.

She is his safe oasis. for he says so himself “after this one dark I’ll cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven” ( Hawthorne 7 ) . He is bewildered when he sees her in the coven. ready to be baptized by the Devil. So. this may besides function to show that we should ne’er idolise person the manner Brown has. He creates an beatific image of his married woman. projecting something unreal onto her. something out of this universe. and that prevented him from seeing her as a existent individual. made of flesh and blood. merely every bit iniquitous as everyone else in the universe. No admiration so that he became disillusioned with her. He believes Faith is an “angel” and one of the Puritans chosens who is destined for Eden. Unfortunately. Brown’s experience in the wood makes him reject his old strong belief of the predominating power of good. He alternatively embraces the Devil’s claim—“Evil is the nature of mankind” ( Hawthorne 64 ) . This has lay waste toing effects on their matrimonial life ; his heartache causes enduring non merely to him. but to her and their kids.

3. The Devil

The Devil in this narrative is ne’er referred to as being one. but the reader. of class. realizes this about instantly after his first moment’s brush with Young Goodman Brown ; this is conformed when the Devil tells him “You are late. Goodman Brown. said he. The clock of the Old South was striking as I came through Boston. and that was full 15 proceedingss agone” ( Hawthorne 10 ) . The singular thing about the fellow-traveler was his staff. which looked an awfly alot like a great black serpent. writhing itself as it was alive. “When the devilish comrade throws his distorted staff down at the pess of Goody Cloyse. ” the act reminds of the scriptural narrative of “Aaron [ who ] had thrown down his rod before Pharaoh. and so had the prestidigitators of Egypt done with theirs. and so wholly became serpents…” ( Hale 18 ) . Hence. within this allegorical model. the staff of the Devil could be associated with the oppositions of Moses and of the God of Israel. which exemplifies evil that Goodman Brown finds so absorbing. The writer is proposing. in the symbolism of the distorted staff. “a cosmopolitan battle for ownership of the mind” ( Hale 18 ) .

The Devil can take any form he so chooses to. but appears in human signifier. and in that bears a dramatic resemblance to Young Goodman Brown. merely older and more experient. and as Hawthorne says they might hold been taken for male parent and boy. This action could be interpreted in two ways. every bit good as the whole narrative: first is that this was an effort of the Devil to derive Brown’s trust. to do him an easy quarry for his horrid strategy ; or. the Devil is in fact Goodman Brown. his dark. subconscious side. in the signifier of the Devil. and that is why he is referred to as the fellow-traveler. invariably following him. stand foring the ever present enticement in Young Goodman Brown himself. The Devil could be seen. if we interpret the whole narrative as an fable. as the dark side of Goodman Brown.

He can stand for the subconscious of Brown. which has been suppressed by the Puritan manner of life. fighting to come out. We have already mentioned that Brown stands for Everyman. and his meeting the Devil may intend that we are all destined. at some point in our lives. to confront the Devil. to lose artlessness. and get down sing evil things. or at least be cognizant of them. This is what it means to be human. for world is non a godly race. but an imperfect one. Every individual in the universe carries the nevus of imperfectness. but that does non intend that we should halt believing in the goodness every bit good. In this narrative Goodman Brown opens his eyes to the truth. but he chooses to shut his bosom. he chooses to be on the fringe of life. in order to avoid enduring. non recognizing that enduring is portion of life and that he is losing out the joy of life every bit good.

The Minister. Deacon Gookin and Goody Cloyse

The Minister. Deacon Gookin and Goody Cloyse are non the major characters of the narrative. but they do play a important portion in it. We will hence non discourse them individually. but as one representative of the finest in the community. Before Goodman Brown’s journey into the forest. these people are idealized in Brown’s eyes. They are his moral and religious advisors. To him they are godly people. unstained by wickedness. predestined to be God’s chosen. When Brown sees all of them in the wood. in the Communion with the Devil. his universe crumbles into pieces. His strong belief of the cosmopolitan wickedness vanishes. The first 1 who appears to be stained by immorality is Goody Cloyse. a adult female who has taught Brown his catechism when he was a male child. “Although the intervention of unconditioned corruption in the catechism is comparatively brief. this was merely one beginning of information about human corruptness and its deductions available to Puritan young person. As portion of the Puritan upbringing. . . Brown doubtless would hold sat through many discourses that emphasized unconditioned corruption. which his household of church members presumptively reinforced. . . ” ( Franklin 71 ) . “Had Brown understood from childhood that worlds. all of whom are depraved. can non obey the Commandments. that fidelity to God’s jurisprudence is impossible. [ as the Puritan catechism Teachs ] he would non be so surprised to see. or to believe he sees. the several worthies fixing to move in a unquestionably non-Christian mode in the woods” ( Franklin 80 ) .

Dainty Cloyse was the name of an existent adult female who was tried and convicted of witchery during the historical Salem Witch Trials of 1692 ; Hawthorne borrows her name for this character. Then we besides have the Minister of Salem Village. The curate. a respectable pillar of the community. appears to be a follower of the Devil. And eventually. Deacon Gookin. who is the member of the clergy in Salem. a really of import and extremely esteemed in Brown’s eyes. Their presence at the enchantress meeting serves the intent of knocking the seniors. the lip service of Puritans. taking dual lives. meeting in the wilderness by dark. and professing righteousness by twenty-four hours.


Young Goodman Brown’s traveling into the wood was no dream. but serves as a metaphor for Brown’s interior consciousness. The journey he takes is the 1 of ego scrutiny. self-contemplation of his deepest frights. uncertainties and contrarinesss. The immorality that he encounters in the wood is his ain immorality. projected on to others. for he has no strength to face the hideousness he finds in himself. It is ever easier to fault person else for one’s ain failures. The fact that Hawthorne chose to portray the narrative as a dream like vision is no happenstance. The dreams. harmonizing to many psychological surveies. frequently conveying on to the surface the most subconscious parts of our head. It helps us to cover with our imperfectnesss. our frights. in order to do our lives less painful. The fact that Brown remained incognizant of the true human nature is because he merely refused to open his eyes. For him it was easier to believe in the reverent nature of the people environing him. instead than confronting the imperfectness of humanity.

When the seed of uncertainty was left in him. he chose to disregard it. instead than seeking to happen interior strength in his religion ; but the malignant neoplastic disease of uncertainty turning inside of him was to much for him to bear. The narrative shows us that nevertheless baronial an thought may look in our imaginativeness. it is non in conformity with human nature. which is imperfect. One must accept imperfectness. first in himself. and so in others. if one wants to stay human. Goodman Brown ne’er realized this. and that is why his deceasing hr was somberness. The supporter lacks strength. and is really judgmental towards everyone. After his epiphany. in which he is shown the truth. he chooses to make nil. The concluding message of the narrative is to ne’er lose religion. to ne’er give in to enticement. for there is ever hope. What is a adult male without his religion? We need something to believe in. whether that be God. fate. some higher force. or even ourselves. because life has no significance without religion. no intent. and it leaves us desolate and condemned to a life-in-death.


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