Analysis Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's ' Young Goodman Brown ' Essay

Analysis Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's ' Young Goodman Brown ' Essay

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, Young Goodman Brown, illustrates the extensive impact and lifelong results that a supposed dream had on the main character. In this dream, Young Goodman Brown essentially meets the devil in the forest and plans to take communion with him at his evil ceremony. However, along his journey, Brown meets religious leaders from his community and the devil states that in previous years, he had met with Brown’s forefathers as well. Though Brown is surprised to hear this, he is most taken aback when he later sees his wife, Faith, at the same ceremony with the devil because she was the most important and noteworthy Christian in his life. While at the ceremony, just as they were about to take part in communion, Brown tells Faith to resist the devil and immediately everyone and everything disappears. The next day, however, though Brown did not complete the ceremony, he is not sure if what happened the night before was a dream or reality. Because of this, he cannot look at any of his community members, not even his wife, with the same respect as before. Considering Goodman Brown’s actions and attitude towards those around him at the end of the story, the reader can see the development of his character and newfound approach towards his religious leaders and community members as a result of his meeting with the devil.
Furthermore, Brown seeing Faith at the ceremony affects him the most because aside from the ironic nature of Faith’s name, she was also an allegorical figure representing pureness and Christianity. When Young Goodman Brown saw the religious leaders and began to lose his hope in religion, he still held on to hope by thinking about his wife Faith. This can be seen when Brown states, “With heaven and ...


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...that in order to write a story of this capacity, with these specific elements, the author must have had a bit of devil in him to conjure up the tale. In the story, the speaker’s tone is very gloomy, depressing, and even adds to the dark nature of the story. Towards the climax of the story, the speaker states, “… a cloud, though no wind was stirring, hurried across the sky and hid the brightening stars (84).” The speaker’s description of the atmosphere only adds to the eerie feeling that is portrayed throughout the story. Therefore, the reader can agree with Williamson in suggesting that the writer/speaker of the story had to possess a bit of a dark side in order to adequately write this story. Given the family background of Nathaniel Hawthorne, one could question how deep his faith truly was and if his lack of faith or belief in a religious figure led to this story.

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