The Discovery Of Evil And Fear Essay

The Discovery Of Evil And Fear Essay

Length: 1008 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Discovery of Evil and Fear “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a short story that delves into the idea that humans have the capacity for great evil. The story is interesting in this aspect because the characters are Puritans; a very conservative religious group from the 16th and 17th centuries in Salem, Massachusetts. Puritans were a holy and somewhat legalistic people who strove to commit no sin and follow God in everything. The title character of Hawthorne’s tale is a Puritan man named Young Goodman Brown. For three months he has been married to his young wife Faith, and he wishes to journey into the woods for an unknown reason. Faith wishes him to say, but Goodman Brown feels he must go. Brown encounters many strange things in the woods, including an old man who reminds him of himself and may be the devil. The climax comes when Brown runs through the forest to find his entire town gathered for a wicked and evil ceremony. “Young Goodman Brown” has many examples of irony and symbolism, while also employing excellent use of tone and theme.
Goodman Brown is not as good as he seems to be. This seems like a simple idea, but it is the main irony of the story that humanity can look like one thing and in actuality be something completely different. The stranger resembles Goodman Brown as an older version of him and carries a black staff that is shaped like a serpent. Brown is hesitant about going into the woods on an evil errand because he is convinced his father and forefathers never did anything of the kind. The stranger interrupts Bro...


... middle of paper ...


...ights such as the one that haunted him, he would have been able to handle it better. Instead, he is left with broken memories and a new outlook on the world around him. It is as if his rose colored glasses have been lifted; only for him to realize that true sight is so much more painful.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was very clever at pointing out the inconsistencies and self-righteousness of the Puritans of his time. “Young Goodman Brown” points out the hypocrisy of the Puritan community not acknowledging specific sins and trying to live a perfect life. Hawthorne shows a cynical side to Puritanism that is not usually talked about. Goodman Brown found it very difficult to move on his life after his faith was lost. It is reasonable then, to try and understand Brown’s distrust and gloominess, because humanity always seems to be searching for answers to problems in life.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Fear of Being Persecuted and Schizophrenia Essays

- There are many things people fear in this world. Most fears are due to lack of knowledge or understanding about someone or something. Those with abnormal behavior have always been feared and persecuted. During ancient times, abnormal behavior was seen as evil spirits taking its toll on the human body. In order to release those evil spirits, a form of surgery called trephination was discovered, in which an instrument was used to cut a circular hole in the skull. Along the years, other forms of methods were used to cleanse the body of evil spirits....   [tags: abnormal behavior, crisis intervention]

Strong Essays
1406 words (4 pages)

We Should Not Fear Cloning Essay

- We Should Not Fear Cloning   With the successful cloning of animals, many people have reacted with frightening and usually uninformed ideas about what cloning is and what researchers hope to achieve through it. Many wish to ban all cloning without even looking at the positive things that cloning will be able to provide for us in the future and with continued research. Like any new technology, people are at first afraid, but this is no excuse to abandon research that could one day save millions of people through cloned organs or give an alternative and safe means of reproduction to sterile couples....   [tags: Argumentative Persuasive Topics]

Strong Essays
1782 words (5.1 pages)

Our Fear of Wolves Essay

- Our Fear of Wolves Wolf. What is the first thought that enters one’s mind upon the utterance of that word. More than likely it is the image of a hairy, razor-sharp toothed beast awaiting the thrill of its next merciless kill. Unfortunately, this stereotypical image has been embalmed within the human psyche of the Western civilization for hundreds of years. Most have never even seen a wolf, yet human’s fear of the animal is seemingly as natural as being afraid of the dark. Might these fears be caused by the mind’s interpretation of the literature and stories that have been told over the centuries....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Free Essays
954 words (2.7 pages)

Elements Of Evil In Beowulf Essay

- In times before printed books were common, stories and poems were passed from generation to generation by word of mouth. From such oral traditions come great epics such as England’s heroic epic, Beowulf. In Beowulf, the monster Grendel serves as the evil character acting against the poem’s hero, as shown by his unnatural strength, beast-like qualities, and alienation from society. One of the first responses from a reader of Beowulf is their surprise at Grendel’s unnatural strength, one quality marking him as an evil character....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]

Strong Essays
702 words (2 pages)

Truth Is It Good Or Evil Essay

- Have you ever met someone who cares so much about the way they look or how people perceive them that they can't even focus on reality. This sums up the way the grandma in a 'Good Man Is Hard To Find'; is in a nutshell. Superficial would also be a good word to describe the way in which Grandma lived her life. Her whole existence on earth was unrealistic and to a certain extent surreal. Grandma led a life of not knowing the meaning of happiness. A perfect existence for grandma would be for everyone who knew her to think of her as a perfect lady who had no imperfections and always looked and acted like the lady she dreamed to be....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
1095 words (3.1 pages)

Modernist Works and the Fear of the Fin de Siècle Essay

- Modernist Works and the Fear of the Fin de Siècle       Fin de siècle is a term which is now used to refer to the period of the last 40 or so years of the Nineteenth Century and its art, yet at the time the word had genuine sociological connotations of modernity, social decay and reaction.  In France in particular though arguably throughout Europe, society was changing in such a way as to merit such a pessimistic term for the trend evolving.  The growing ability for the mass of the people to access all areas of society, previously only available to an appreciative elite coupled with the growing crime rate and visible decline of this elite are factors of this social phenomenon.  The modern...   [tags: Literature Essays Literary Criticism]

Strong Essays
3333 words (9.5 pages)

Horror and fear at the emergence of the monster in Chapter 5 of Frankenstein

- Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a work of Gothic horror - a branch of romantic fiction characterized by its focus on sublime emotions. The genre is often inspired by nightmares with the intent to inspire horror and emotion in the reader. The era in which the novel was written, around the time of 1816, followed a period of great scientific advancement. Shelley's style is heavily influenced by the romantic poets with whom she spent time and her plot was influenced almost undoubtedly by the scientists of her time, who after its recent discovery had a great fascination with electricity and its effects on the human body....   [tags: Mary Shelley]

Strong Essays
2182 words (6.2 pages)

"The Lord of the Flies": Shining a Light on the Evil Inherent in Human Nature

- How do we, as humans, define civilization. What is it that exemplifies our commonality as a species and sets us apart from the common beast. Is it art, science, literature, technological advances, or the philosophical mind. In the Lord of the Flies, Golding successfully unravels our delicate perceptions about what makes us human through a series of haunting and powerfully constructed symbols; among the most integral are the beast, the Lord of the Flies itself, and the fire. Through his narrative, illumination is cast upon the evil inherent in human nature, and society is revealed as a weak and easily penetrable façade....   [tags: Literary Analysis]

Strong Essays
875 words (2.5 pages)

Evil of Fulfillment in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye Essay

- Evil of Fulfillment The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison, tells the sordid story of Pecola, a young colored girl, as she struggles to attain beauty, desperately praying for blue eyes. Depicting the fallacies in the storybook family, Morrison weaves the histories of the many colored town folk into the true definition of a family. Through intense metaphor and emotion, the ugliness of racial tension overcomes the search for beauty and in turn the search for love. Pecola, a twelve year old from a broken home, is first introduced when she is sent to live with Claudia (the narrator) and her family....   [tags: Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye]

Free Essays
653 words (1.9 pages)

Who Knows What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Marooned Choir Boys? Essay

- The Lord of the Flies by William Golding is considered to be one of the most influential and often controversial pieces of literature from the 1950's. Published in the midst of the Cold War, this novel was perhaps a fulfillment of whatever prophecy convinced Golding to abandon the sciences at the Oxford College where his father taught in favor of studying the English language and literature in greater depth. Work in the independent theaters of “very, very far-off-Broadway theater,” Royal Navy during wartime, and even the English educational system, were all in preparation for his masterpiece to come in 1954....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Free Essays
1804 words (5.2 pages)