The Importance Of Faith In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, Young Goodman Brown, illustrates the extensive impact and lifelong results that a supposed dream had on the main character. In this dream, Young Goodman Brown essentially meets the devil in the forest and plans to take communion with him at his evil ceremony. However, along his journey, Brown meets religious leaders from his community and the devil states that in previous years, he had met with Brown’s forefathers as well. Though Brown is surprised to hear this, he is most taken aback when he later sees his wife, Faith, at the same ceremony with the devil because she was the most important and noteworthy Christian in his life. While at the ceremony, just as they were about to take part in communion, Brown…show more content…
Though Brown attempts to hide when he sees her, she identifies the man who had been walking with Brown as the devil and she identifies herself as a witch on her way to the devil’s evil ceremony. Goodman Brown knows Goody Cloyse from his childhood because she was the very woman who taught him his catechism. Therefore, learning that she was corrupt destroys the very basis of religion that he was taught as a child. Furthermore, learning that the old man who Brown had been walking with was the devil illustrated the idea that the devil does not always come in the supposed red cape and horns, but rather man’s greatest…show more content…
Although one may be surprised that Hawthorne could write such a story about what was considered a taboo topic during his time period, and even have such blatant evidence of personal interaction with a demonic individual, the reader can suggest that the topic of his story is caused by the fact that Hawthorne’s grandfather was involved with the Salem witch trials. Hawthorne’s grandfather was not the only one involved in the witch trials from his family, however, he was also related to 4 of the accused witches. Considering Hawthorne’s family history, the reader can clearly see the where the author’s interest was sparked. James Williamson, author of Young Goodman Brown: Hawthorne 's 'Devil in Manuscript, has a strong opinion about Hawthorne’s motives behind the story. He states, “…there is a connection between the writer and the devil and the writer/speaker is actually a member of the devil 's party. Brown actually meets with three devils: the old man, Goody Cloyse, and the speaker. The speaker is the devil in the manuscript in that he has the ability to make Brown and the reader perceive devilish qualities of the other characters (127).” Though it may go against conventional views of the author, Williamson raises good insight and starts a great discussion concerning the mindset of the author, rather than Young Goodman
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