Short Story Analysis: Young Goodman Brown

1121 Words5 Pages
History has known many a great author, but none more intriguing than Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne’s ability to weave stories through the use of complex language and early puritan society narratives has long been a topic of study amongst scholars and young adults, alike. “Young Goodman Brown” explores the idea of good vs. evil and draws many parallels to the life of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
It is often debated whether man is born innately good or evil. In “Young Goodman Brown” it is possible to see Hawthorne’s stance on this. However, before delving too deeply into this short story, it is crucial to the understanding of the narrative that the life of Nathaniel Hawthorne is critically analyzed. According to John Clendenning, Nathaniel was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. He attended college at Bowdoin College, where he met future United States President Franklin Pierce. From this friendship, Hawthorne was moved to England as a consul, in 1846, shortly following his marriage to Sophia Peabody in 1842.
Hawthorne is descended from a line of staunch Puritans. This included William Hathorne, whom was involved with the persecution of many Quakers during the seventeenth century. Additionally, William Hathorne’s son, John Hathorne (Nathaniel’s father), was a judge during the Salem witch trials. Because of this, Hawthorne added the ‘w’ to his name in hopes of separating himself from the acts of his ancestors
(Bomarito). This gesture is monumental when looking at Hawthorne’s moral stance of good vs. evil.
In removing himself from his family history, Hawthorne is solidifying his views on the persecution of humans, his views on witchcraft and his opinion about what really makes a man ‘godly’. Because both his father and gran...

... middle of paper ...

...1804 - 1864)." Gothic Literature: A Gale Critical Companion. Ed. Jessica Bomarito. Vol. 2: A-K. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 363-386. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.

“Introduction.” Nathaniel Hawthorne: A Study of the Short Fiction. Nancy L. Bunge. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993. 127. Twayne's Studies in Short Fiction 41. Twayne's Authors on GVRL. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.

"“Young Goodman Brown”." Literature and Its Times: Profiles of 300 Notable Literary Works and the Historical Events that Influenced Them. Joyce Moss and George Wilson. Vol. 1: Ancient Times to the American and French Revolutions (Prehistory-1790s). Detroit: Gale, 1997. 420-426. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.
"Young Goodman Brown." Short Stories for Students. Ed. Kathleen Wilson. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1997. 294-311. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.

More about Short Story Analysis: Young Goodman Brown

Open Document