Analysis Of Hawthorne 's ' Young Goodman Brown ' Essay

Analysis Of Hawthorne 's ' Young Goodman Brown ' Essay

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Hawthorne’s Ancestral Influence
The story, “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, appears, on the surface, to be a story about a man who struggles inside himself between good and evil. However, as one analyzes the story deeper, a reader will find it is indeed ambiguous. There have been many interpretations all of which find something different hidden among the passages. Upon deeper analysis, I have discovered many similarities as well as differences with real historical events. Historical events are drawn from Hawthorne’s own Hathorne ancestors and their Puritan roots, The Salem Witch trials, and other evil deeds that are interwoven into the story.
In the story, Brown leaves his new wife, Faith, who represents all that is good and holy, for some unnamed evil purpose. Brown enters a dark and scary forest where he meets an older, evil version of himself. Brown is in a constant struggle inside himself. Does he want to be good or continue down this path to evil? With encouragement from this older man, Brown proceeds further into the forest. While walking, he sees many holy people from his church. These people should be pure without sin. However, they were “journeying so deep into the heathen wilderness” (Hawthorne 1126). Seeing these holy men had him “doubting whether there really was a heaven above him” (Hawthorne 1127). These holy people were there to initiate converts into their evil religion. Brown is overcome with fear when he sees his wife among the converts. He cries out to her, “Look up to heaven, and resist the wicked one” (Hawthorne 1130). Without learning what Faith has decided, Brown seems to awaken from this dream state. However, the images haunt him for the rest of his life. He becomes afraid and suspicious of ...


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...risk walk, while the constable follows with a whip of knotted cords. A strong-armed fellow is that constable; and each time he flourishes his lashes in the air, you see a frown wrinkling his brow, and at the same instant a smile upon his lips. He loves his business, faithful officer that he is, and puts his soul into every stroke, zealous to fulfil the injunction of Major Hathorne’s warrant, in the spirit and to the letter. There came down a stroke that has drawn blood! Ten such stripes are to be given in Salem, ten in Boston, and ten in Dedham; and, with those thirty stripes of blood upon her, she is to be driven into the forest. . . Heaven grant that, as the rain of so many years has wept upon it, time after time, and washed it all away, so there may have been a dew of mercy, to cleanse this cruel blood-stain out of the record of the persecutor’s life (Miller 21).

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