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Analysis of a Passage from Young Goodman Brown

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The point in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" when Brown proclaims "My Faith is gone!" marks the crisis point of the story. Brown's faith in God completely disappears here. This point eventually leads Brown to distrust everyone that he knows and sends his life into a downward spiral of despair and fear. Even though Brown's experience in the forest changes him, this change is only on the surface, and deep down Brown is still the same man he was before.

While it is not stated early in the story, Goodman Brown's faith in God begins to waiver much earlier than the beginning of the story. Brown's lack of faith is the reason he takes the journey into the woods. However, the narrator never tells why Brown starts to doubt God. The reader is left to guess whether a single incident or a series of incidents cause this course that leads Brown to an unhappy life.

Despite the lack of information on Goodman Brown's past, the cause of the trip into the forest is known. He has sinned and knows he has of his own free will. Also Brown experiences the sin of pride. He wants the knowledge about what nobody really knows about: the devil. The major flaw with this thinking is that Brown relies on the village to protect him. He thinks if he decides not to join the devil, the town will greet him with open arms and will fix everything. But when Brown returns to the village, he sees the villagers differently and does not ask for their help.

Before going into the woods, Goodman Brown views everyone in his town the same way. He believes that all of his neighbors are pious and have complete faith in God. He sees his neighbors as completely good, which is a very limited view. He only sees these people as they behave in public. Brown then bases his perception only on that behavior. He has no idea how everyone else thinks. In reality, every person has sinned in some way. Goodman Brown cannot accept this concept, especially since he is not aware of it.

When Brown emerges from the forest, his life has changed. His life is now full of pain. Brown cannot stand to hear his minister speak now. He also tends to shrink away from people and to scowl and mutter at them.
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