Free YGB Essay: Deciphering a Passage of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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Deciphering a Passage from Young Goodman Brown

" Lo! There ye stand, my children…'" In the first line of this passage, the figure is trying to gain the trust of the people congregated around the alter. This figure, Satan, is standing before the citizens of Salem addressing them as 'my children' in order to lure them into a false belief in him as their savior. His deep, solemn, and almost sad tone commands sincerity and, seemingly, his feelings of sadness that their belief in God did not work out. 'His once angelic nature' is used to portray that he too was once a follower of God but also chose the road to evil in an effort to empathize with the people of Salem. 'Depending upon one another's hearts, ye had still hoped, that virtue were not all a dream,' was said by Satan to suggested he knew that some of the people of Salem desperately tried to believe that they could be saved and that there were another way other than through evil. Satan then cries, 'Now are ye undeceived! Evil is the nature of mankind.' This is to imply that he is wiping the sleep from people's eyes and it uncovering the truth- that evil is the only way- the natural way. Only through evil can the masses can be happy instead of through any other belief. He again welcomes the people standing before him into his evil kingdom through 'the communion of your race!'

"Young Goodman Brown" is a portrayal of one man who bids farewell to his wife, Faith, to undertake a secret journey into the night. He sets off on his way at sunset into a thick forest to rendez-vous with an old man who is to lead him to this secret deep in the woods, the secret being a meeting to welcome the people of Salem to Satan's evil kingdom. Goodman Brown, throughout the story, is in conflict with himself as to why he is doing this. He tries to turn back many times but is once again drawn to this inevitable journey by the old traveler. Once he arrives near the meeting, he hears Faith succumb to Satan and rushes to be with her. Goodman Brown then awakes in the forest and returns to Salem. He sees the people who had attended the fiend-worship and can only think evil thoughts of them and their hippocratic ways.
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