Free Essays - Psychological Analysis of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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Psychological Analysis of Young Goodman Brown Most of the works can be analyzed by one of the three critical approaches: traditional, formalistic or psychological approach. When it comes to Young Goodman Brown (by Nathaniel Hawthorne), I think that psychological approach is the best one to use. The story is all about the three components of our unconscious (id, ego and superego) and the constant battle among them. It is true that psychological approach has its flaws. It was criticized unjustly for those flaws. The greatest limitation lies in its "aesthetic inadequacy." It also suffered because many critics of this approach tend to push their thesis overboard. However, the other two approaches have inadequacies of their own. The formalistic disregards the sociological and historical aspects of the related work. The traditional neglects the structure of the work itself. We could easily use the historical and the moral approaches, but we cannot get inside of the story and analyze it. Young Goodman Brown is a perfect character for the psychological approach. One can examine his mind and the three components of the unconscious. All three of those are represented in the story. Id is the one that stands out. In the beginning, Brown's id wins a battle over ego and superego when Young Goodman Brown decides to leave his wife Faith in order to meet the Devil. Even though he fears his actions, Goodman Brown goes along with his plan. He wants to fulfill his inner desires (or as Freud calls it: the pleasure principle) no matter what. It is interesting that Freud identifies the id with the Devil himself. Hawthorne uses Young Goodman Brown who is driven by his id to get to the Devil. Once Brown encounters the Devil in the forest, he starts to get to his senses. The psychological approach analyzes this occurrence as the emergence of the latent unconscious (Freud calls is the preconscious). I was shocked when I read that Goodman Brown resembles the Devil. "In truth, all through the haunted forest there could be nothing more frightful than the figure of Goodman Brown. On he flew among the black pines, brandishing his staff with frenzied gestures, now giving vent to an inspiration of horrid blasphemy, and now shouting forth such laughter as set all the echoes of the forest laughing like demons around him.

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