Analysis of Setting in Young Goodman Brown

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An analysis of the setting in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown"

In the story of "Young Goodman Brown" setting plays an important role. It provides symbolism to certain events and provokes emotions amongst the characters, especially those of Goodman Brown. The story of "Young Goodman Brown" is that of a man on an adventure to feed his curiosity and to visit the dark side of his Puritan town. Once he arrives at the destination of his adventure, he realizes that many of his elders have followed in the paths of evil and that holiness and innocence has been vanquished from his once thought to be holy Puritan town. The central idea of "Young Goodman Brown," is the conflict in Goodman Brown between joining the devil and remaining "good." It is a very difficult journey for Brown, as he travels through the woods, all the while thinking of the "good" things (like his wife Faith) he would be leaving behind. This internal conflict ultimately destroys the Young Goodman Brown and creates a new man.

At the beginning of the story Goodman Brown sets out on his journey at sunset; to set out at sunset is symbolizing darkness, which in turn symbolizes evil, which begins the setting for the story of "Young Goodman Brown." As Brown is leaving he kisses his wife, Faith, goodbye; the name Faith is intentionally used to symbolize the faith in god that they both share and also what Brown is leaving behind to go on his journey. Brown's wife, Faith, is also wearing pink ribbons in her hair, which give the impression that she is an innocent godly woman. Right before Brown leaves on his journey Faith says, "pr'y thee, put off your journey until sunrise." (309). This is showing that sunrise is a more pleasant and peaceful time to go on a jou...

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...ed by the devil tempting Brown to join the dark side. The way in which the devil lures Brown is by convincing him that his relatives and town's people have already crossed over to the dark side and denied their faith. The struggle that Brown is now facing is whether to follow is relatives and town's people or to follow his faith in god and deny the devil, that is Brown's internal conflict. These internal and external conflicts are what turned Brown into a dynamic character by the end of the story. Instead of believing and trusting that his relatives and friends are godly, he now knows that they have all been tempted by the devil and many have crossed over to the dark side; he went from being trusting to skeptical of his friends and his faith.

Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Young Goodmam Brown", The Story and Its Writer, 4th ed. Ed. Ann Charters. Boston:
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