preview

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Satisfactory Essays
The Puritan religion is like a candle; its flame may brighten up a room, but it can lead to a deadly blaze. Raised as a Puritan, Hawthorne grew up seeing that religion could have both good and evil consequences. While his family taught him that it was important in bringing him happiness and strength, Hawthorne saw his faith through a different lens. As he matured, Hawthorne discovered that his seemingly pious family was disturbingly flawed. In his short story “Young Goodman Brown,” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan ancestry aids in developing ______symbols and the inner complexities of his characters.
Born on July 4, 1804, Hawthorne spent most of his childhood years living in Salem, Massachusetts with his mother and sisters. His father’s death in 1808 left the family penniless, forcing them to rely on support from relatives. With the help of his wealthy uncle Robert Manning, Hawthorne enrolled at Bowdoin College in 1821. Although Hawthorne was not enthusiastic and hard-working when it came to his schoolwork, he was still an avid reader and writer. His ultimate goal of becoming a successful author stemmed from a childhood leg injury, which left him bedridden for months and gave him time to develop his interest in literature. Now that he was interested, all he needed was a subject to write about.
Hawthorne, the sixth generation in a family of American Puritans, was raised by his family to strictly follow his religion. As he grew older, he would soon learn that his family’s connections to Puritanism were stronger than he could have imagined. On the surface, the Hathornes seemed like a faithful, religious family. However, Nathaniel dug deeper and discovered some startling facts. Both William Hathorne, the family’s first American ancesto...

... middle of paper ...

...hey were expressed symbolically, these events reflect Hawthorne’s pessimism. While his faith tries to keep him in line, Brown is corrupted by evil’s triumph over faith.
Through symbolism and characterization, Hawthorne’s life is projected into his story, “Young Goodman Brown.” Hawthorne’s depiction of Brown’s ancestors, the minister, and Goody Cloyse all reflect his idea that, despite how they may seem, even the pillars and role models of society are flawed. Additionally, the symbols of Faith and the forest show that, although faith may try to keep people in line, evil will ultimately triumph and lead a person to sin. Ultimately, the plot and message of “Young Goodman Brown” is enhanced by Hawthorne’s personal influences. By incorporating his history and personal ideas into his stories, Hawthorne established himself as a legendary, inspirational American writer.
Get Access