A Walk with the Unknown Essay

A Walk with the Unknown Essay

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The development of literature in America began to spark the creation of stories related to events that were happening in the time period. One of the more popular elements of history is the Salem Witch Trials, in which the people of Salem were accused of practicing Black Magic or worshipping Satan. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” finds Goodman Brown leaving his wife, Faith, to venture at night to tend to business matters. Along his journey, Goodman Brown finds that he is not alone in his travels when he encounters an old man. Hawthorne uses the characters and settings to define the proverbial journey of the darker side of faith and humankind’s involvement, much of which was seen throughout the changing eras.
Hawthorne uses the character of Goodman Brown as the representation of the human’s struggle with faith. After his course with the Old Man, Brown is left to quarrel with his findings in the woods alone. He is wrought between ending his journey or continuing on, after finding that many of those in which he trusted with his faith had been meddling elsewhere. Before the Old Man leaves, Brown admits that he can no longer continue, “another step…on this errand. What if a wretched old woman do choose to go to the devil, when I thought she was going to Heaven! Is that any reason why I should quit my dear Faith, and go after her?” (Hawthorne 609). Brown is questioning why he should do as Goody Cloyse did before him and choose the dark side and leave his Faith behind. Although Brown is stating that he is uncertain of his choice in what the devil is asking him, the question of it leads to the idea that Brown had seriously considered following the Old Man. As Brown represents humankind, it is humankind then questioning the pat...


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...ung Goodman Brown.” Explicator 65.3 (2007): 143-145. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Nov. 2011.

Jaynes, Michael. “Moving Toward An Understanding Of Evil”: Young Goodman Brown,” University Freshmen, And Semiotics.” Eureka Studies in Teaching Short Fiction 7.1 (2006): 66-77. Humanities International Complete. Web. 19 Nov. 2011

Paulits, Walter J. “Ambivalence In ‘Young Goodman Brown’.” American Literature: A Journal Of Literary History, Criticism, And Bibliography 41.4 (1970): 577-584. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 17 Dec. 2011

Walsh Jr., Thomas F. “The Bedeviling of Young Goodman Brown.” Modern Language Quarterly 19.4 (1958): 331. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Dec. 2011.

Zhu, Xian-chun. “Allegory and Symbolism In Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown.” US-China Foreign Language 6.1 (2008): 56-60. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Dec. 2011.

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