Romanticism In Young Goodman Brown

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Accepting Sin
The popularity of modern dystopian stories is rooted in its dark themes and settings, but this interest goes back to the early stages of American Literature. Two of the most well-known American authors, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe, delved into the sinfulness of human nature and presence of evil in mortal lives through symbolic journeys of their characters. In the short story “Young Goodman Brown”, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s main protagonist, Goodman Brown, takes a journey through a forest with a mysterious man, who shows him the sinful nature of his townspeople. Hawthorne uses elements of American Romanticism to show how the refusal to accept that evil and goodness coexist in humans will lead to a bitter life of isolation.
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Hawthorne describes him as“he of the serpent” and walks with a staff resembling a black snake. Branches wither at his touch, and he sees the connections between people and sin. All these represent the association with the devil and witchcraft. The devil takes Brown on this journey to teach him that evil is everywhere, including within himself and in people he believes to be pure. As Goodman Brown 's journey gets darker and darker, he loses faith in the moral goodness of humans and his own religion instead of accepting the fact that humans are imperfect. On his path, he finds Goody Cloyse taking the path of evil; the person who taught Brown his catechism and acts as a spiritual and moral guide for him; a woman whom he believed was on a path to heaven. Later, he discovers that his minister and Deacon Good are also taking the path of sin. After spiralling into madness after learning the truth of the lack of moral goodness, Young Goodman Brown reaches his destination at the heart of the forest. He finds the residents of his town surrounding a dark figure,who describes a satanic ritual. Goodman Brown finally realizes the sin that resides in his fellow Puritans, and his belief taught him that if they harbor sin, there cannot be goodness. He learns that…show more content…
Unlike in Young Goodman Brown, Prince Prospero’s journey is meant to warn him that attempting to avoid and ignore the evil within himself will lead to the suffering of himself and others. Prospero notices that the Red Death, a plague of evil, has overtaken his country, but instead of attempting to help, he separates himself from the sick by hiding in his home and trying to keep evil from entering:“A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts”(Poe, 1). Prospero goes to every length to keep out the Red Death, even if it means locking himself and his companions in. He uses strong metals to ensure that nothing breaks in, and by preventing anyone from leaving or entering, he separates the good from evil with uncrossable boundaries. Prospero becomes prideful of his apparent success at keeping away evil, and he decides to throw a party for the rich and healthy. In Prospero’s journey, he and his guests travel through a series of rooms that leads to their final destination, which in this case, is the end of their life. Throughout the journey, Prince Prospero and his guests are warned of this impending
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