Analysis Of The Novel ' Young Goodman Brown ' By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

Analysis Of The Novel ' Young Goodman Brown ' By Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

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The short story “Young Goodman Brown”, by Nathaniel Hawthorne is controversial in many ways, especially given the location of Salem during the 1700’s. This location is important to highlight the two distinctive settings in the story. The first is what appears to be a very religious, morally clean society; the second consists of a gloomy forest, suspected to be inhabited by shrieking Indians or perhaps even the devil himself. The eerie wickedness that looms in the forest represents the inner truth of a seemingly Christ-like town.
This inner and outer truth, whether it’s a dream of Goodman Brown’s or not, is symbolic to the fact that people are not always who they seem. For example, when Young Goodman Brown sees an elderly woman from Salem named Goody Cloyse, he is utterly shocked. She is regarded as a generous, God fearing woman; however, her familiar greeting with the Devil reveals her true wickedness. The same theme repeats itself time and time again with every familiar face Brown encounters, even including the Salem Minister. With that being said, the reader gets a vividly clear image of the pure outer persona of the Salem residents in the quotation, “But, were I to go on with thee, how should I meet the eye of that good old man, our minister, at Salem village? Oh his voice would make me tremble, both Sabbath-day and lecture-day!" (Hawthorne 327) The respect shown in those lines make it even more clear the line between the good (Salem) and the evil (forest), and just how distinctly they represent an inner evil.
If we take a closer look into the setting, the important small details in the forest each represent some form of moral code or fault. For example, the screams of Native Indians could represent torture in death, and the ...


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...Brown realizes that the one hope he had for good (Faith) contains an inner darkness herself, he instantly loses the last ounce of hope that he had.
This story is ultimately a tale of deception in the most unlikely places. Goodman Brown sees the town of Salem as a safe haven for Christian worship and practice; when in reality there is evil in seemingly everyone’s’ heart. There is a direct correlation between this, and the image of Salem in contrast to the dark forest that lies near it. As stated previously, Goodman Brown encounters his wife at the ritual ceremony, the last person he could of imagined to be there. Immediately assuming the worst he loses complete and utter faith in humanity and himself. There is no question that Nathaniel Hawthorne intended the setting of Salem and the forest, to directly correspond with the light and darkness in the people of Salem.

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