Before his life changing journey, goodman Brown is unknowing of all the sin that goes on around him. He believes that everyone he knows is perfect and without sin. This changes when he takes a trip through the forest. His eyes are opened in a sense, but maybe too wide. Goodman Brown becomes paranoid about everyone in the village including his wife, Faith.
While he tries to help his wife Faith from the devil, he wakes up from imagination or dream in the forest wondering what has happened in the previous night. Whether the scenes he witnessed were real or his imagination, Goodman believes what he remembers and trusts no one in the village when he returns, not even his wife. Goodman seems to live the rest of his life with misery and distrust. In the beginning of the story, Goodman is a faithful man who is able to pass any temptation the devil gives him. He is happy with the community and his faith until his trip.
This journey that Young Goodman Brown encounters could of been a dream or even a true event that is manifested by his own internal desires. Unable to accept that society is a mixture of both good and evil, Goodman Brown chooses his own damnation. In the forest Brown saw a mixture of religious and wicked people, and it was strange to see that "the good shrank not from the wicked, nor were the sinners abashed by the saints." Brown ultimately decides to accept that everyone is evil, and he loses his chance at redemption when he makes the decision to completely isolate himself from society and even from his own wife.
From the beginning of Hawthorne’s story a test of faith prevails. From the moment that Young Goodman Brown parts with his wife, Faith, to when they meet again at the heart of the forest, the very manner Young Goodman Brown has been taught his entire life is at stake. Yet it is not so much Goodman Brown’s faith in God that is the concern but whether or not Goodman Brown feels he can trust anyone or anything he has ever come to know and believe in. Society has preconditioned him to think a certain way, thus through this journey Young Goodman Brown cannot deal with the new Puritan life he witnesses. Since he is unsure of what his society is truly like Goodman Brown is now incapable of knowing his place in society and knowing whom he really is.
The two questions that Hawthorne implies are why his character cannot adapt to the community and what conditions does the character not agree. Before Brown's visit into the woods, he has no problem with his community; however, he becomes aware of the problems of his community after the encounter in the forest. Being involved with one's community was very important during the time period. Goodman Brown's community was very small, and everyone knew everyone. If one did not adapt to the ways of the society, then that person was shunned from it.
My third and final theme is the fear of the wilderness. The themes are apparent threw out the entire story. In Young Goodman brown the weakness of public moral is revealed. This theme is corruptible by the puritan society’s emphasis on public morality which weakens the individual’s person’s religious faith. Even though Goodman Brown decided to go into the forest to meet the devil he is scared to be seen with the devil so he hides from Goody Cloyse, The minister, and Deacon Gookin.
During his journey Young Goodman Brown found himself entangled within a web of moral controversy; this occurrence exposed his and society’s inner struggle with temptation and religious devotion. For the most part Young Goodman Brown found his downfall inevitable because although he chose good, evil seemed to prevail within his surroundings. He later declared, “"My Faith is gone!" cried he, after one stupefied moment. "There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name.
Goodman Brown’s wife is his only salvation for Heaven, and once Faith is taken away from him, he finally recedes into his evil nature. If Goodman brown’s inner purity was stronger, he would have never subsided to the evil, and he would have been able to resist it—instead he becomes a cynic. Goodman Brown loses his faith because everything he has known about his pure religion becomes a lie in the woods. All of his untainted friends are revealed to be a part of the devil’s worshippers. Even Brown’s wife turns out to be one of the sinners which is the moment he loses all faith.
From the moment we enter this world we start a life long journey finding answers to life's hardest questions. Each of us deal with both similar, and very different questions that cause us to make decisions in what we believe. Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Young Goodman Brown" depicts a man who on his own journey discovers the devilry within people. Unfortunately he never realizes that within people there is both good and bad, he chooses to believe that all people are evil. Young Goodman Brown is an example of what can happen to someone who loses faith, because without faith in mankind we will live our lives in gloom.
The Victims in McCarthy's Child of God In Cormac McCarthy's Child of God, Lester Ballard is a recluse who is shunned by the people of his community. Because of his morose nature and his bizarre habits, he stands out among the small rural community. The rejected Ballard turns from being a harmless recluse to a murderer. While he is clearly a victimizer, he is also a victim himself. He is the victim of his own ostracization from the community that he was a part of.