Free Essays - Comparing Young Goodman Brown and Soldier’s Home
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Young Goodman Brown: Going Home
My home is my haven and the place that I feel the safest and most comfortable at. It is where many good memories and feelings arise and I am able to be myself with no false pretenses. It is my “Home Sweet Home” yet the stories “Young Goodman Brown,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and “Soldier’s Home,” by Ernest Hemingway show a different attitude about home going and the effects it has on the main characters.
In Hawthorne’s story, “Young Goodman Brown,” Goodman Brown ventures on a journey into the forest and refuses the temptations of the devil. Unfortunately though, throughout the night, Brown finds out more than he ever wanted to know about how his fellow Puritan townsmen, including his wife, have betrayed their faith by giving into their dark desires. In utter despair, Goodman Brown returns at dawn to his Salem village “staring around him like a bewildered man.” (Hawthorne, pg.275) He doesn’t believe it is the same place as it was the night before and he no longer feels at home. Whether his experiences were real or not, his faith is gone and he feels as though he is the only pure one. He suffers tremendous guilt and discomfort and trusts no one. His excessive pride is evident when he takes a child away from a blessing given by Goody Cloyse, his former catechism teacher, as if he were taking the child “from the fiend himself.” (Hawthorne, pg.276) His distrust and resentment towards his townsmen is apparent when he sees his wife, Faith. She is overwhelmed with joy to see him arrive home yet he looked “sternly and sadly into her face and passed on without a greeting.” (Hawthorne, pg.276) All that he learned in the night was too much for him, and it changed a devoted husband with bright hopes and a wife whom he loved, to a tired, beaten, questioning and almost faithless man.
Harold Krebs in Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home,” returns from World War I to a society that he no longer feels a part of and receives no welcome for his heroic deeds. He resents being home which is largely due to the fact, that during the war he led a very simple lifestyle and upon returning home is thrust back into a complicated domestic life. He tries to seek refuge by withdrawing from society and engages himself in individual activities.