Analyses of Short Stories

Powerful Essays
Analyses of Short Stories

Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown”

Goodman Brown was not asleep in this short story. As I read, I believed that Goodman did indeed meet the devil in the forest. If he had indeed dreamt about the trip he was sent on and meeting the devil, I think his nervousness would have been described in more detail then it was. Concentrating more on the anxiety he was feeling would have led the reader to believe that the events were not real. I also saw this story as an allegory. I saw the allegory after reading the story two times. I think it is centered on Goodman Brown having a bumpy past and that he wants to go beyond his past and reach heaven. The characters names also show the religious allegory in the story. The names Goodman and Faith are used and the characters are then soon faced with terrifying evil. I think that Goodman Brown and his wife, Faith’s names symbolize that they are good, religious people and that Goodman is making up everyone being evil in his head.

I found an essay by Alexa Carlson that described the symbolism in light vs. dark, forest vs. town, nature vs. human, and fantasy vs. reality. In her paper, Essay #1: Young Goodman Brown, she states that “…fantasy vs. reality are employed to reinforce the idea that good and evil have been set up as strict categories into which no one, not even the religious figures of the community, fit neatly.” As she later writes, if Hawthorne was apprehensive about “what he considers right and wrong in terms of human behavior, I think he would have spend more time building up his tragic end.”

“Young Goodman Brown” was a pretty sad story because he was happy with all the locals and his faith until the trip came into Goodman Brown’s life. Goodman is pure going into the forest, but in a sense comes out of the forest somewhat evil. He comes back thinking he is better than everyone else and ends up isolating himself to lead a very lonely life.

Source: Carlson, Alexa. Essay #1: Young Goodman Brown.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, “My Kinsman, Major Molineaux”

I read some information about Nathaniel Hawthorne’s life and then thinking back to this story, I see his life somewhat reflected in the main character. I saw him relating himself to Robin and parallel the emotions and similarities to that of his own life. I remember reading that Ha...

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...d have smothered him to death. Sure that may be hard to believe but that was the only reasonable explanation I could come up with. I saw foreshadowing in the story that brought me to believe that she smothered him. Miles was banished from school because of things he said. I assumed it was dirty language and he passed those words onto other children, including his own sister. Flora probably did not learn the appalling language from the ghost of Miss Jessel but most likely from her own brother. In the article from, they talk about the governess’ reaction to Miles and his confession. The governess was given adequate information about why Miles was expelled from school. They also talk about how “the governess’s behavior is having a dangerous effect on the boy. The sweating, hard breathing, and weakness she describes begin even before she tells the boy that Quint is present.” The governess seems to get even more upset and then begins shaking the boy.

I liked this book more than I thought that I would. I was not expecting it to a ghost story at all and was really quite surprised by the ending.

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