Goodman Brown’s Loss of Faith in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1480 Words6 Pages
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote Young Goodman Brown based on morals and what Easterly in "Lachrymal Imagery in Hawthorne's 'Young Goodman Brown' " calls "spiritual maturity" (Easterly 339). In the short story, Goodman Brown, a young Puritan leaves his wife of three months to watch a witch ceremony in the forest. During this point in time, Puritans based their lives on teachings of religion and morality; therefore, witch-meetings were surely immoral, and they betrayed the commitment of God. Dwelling in the forest throughout the night, Goodman Brown experiences an event that changes his entire perspective of life. In one night, the event destroys "his relationship with his wife Faith, isolates him from his neighbors, and destroys his ability to worship God"(Easterly 339). Eventually, Goodman Brown dies without his faith, and "they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone; for his dying hour was gloom"(Easterly 339).

Before Brown leaves the house, Faith begs him to stay saying, "...put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed to-night" (Hawthorne 298), but of course, Brown ignores her plea and continues his journey anyhow. In the forest, he meets a man with a staff "which bore the likeness of a great black snake" (Hawthorne 299), an ultimate representation of evil. Surely, Goodman Brown knows that the witch meeting appears to be his destination. Walking through the forest, he pays close attention to every tree and every rock. As he proceeds his journey, Brown sights Faith and his moral and spiritual adviser, along with Deacon Gookin and the minister. He then notices Goody Cloyse, an old "Christian woman" (Hawthorne 300), rushing through the woods. Surely Brown's suspicion begins to take over, now curious about...

... middle of paper ...

... and spiritual maturity because he could not handle the fact that others worshiped the devil (those he certainly did not expect). In this, Hawthorne tells us that the man who sheds no tears lives the rest of his life a sad man, whose "dying hour was gloom" (Easterly 339).

Works Cited

Easterly, Joan Elizabeth. "Lachrymal Imagery in Hawthorne's 'Young Goodman Brown.' " Studies in Short Fiction. 28 (1991): 339

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Young Goodman Brown." Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Fort Worth: Harcourt, 1997. 298-308.

Mikosh, Bert A. "The Allegorical Goodman Brown." An American Literature Survey Site. September 1996. < (31 March 1999)

Segura, Giberto. "The View of 'Young Goodman Brown.' " An American Literature Survey Site. September 1996. (31 March 1999)
Open Document