Young Goodman Brown In the story of Young Goodman Brown the main character finds much more then he imagined by venturing into the forest. Leaving from the town of Salem, Massachusetts, Young Goodman Brown travels into the forest to confront and conquer the temptations of evil. However, the artistry of this story lies in what Goodman Brown finds, realizes, and becomes. In “Young Goodman Brown” the main character goes through a period of self-realization, and; ironically comes to harbor the evil he fears so much. The time period in which the story is set contributes heavily to the irony of the events.
Despite his hesitation he continues his dark journey. Hawthorne writes that as Goodman Brown makes his way through the forest, he is swallowed up in the darkness and that he never visibly identifies those he feels are near him. The sounds “appeared” to pass along the road, and he “could have sworn” that he recognizes the voices of people he knows (Hawthorne 7). Hawthorne shows that the Puritans’ belief in witches and their suspicions toward one another are enough proof for them to accuse innocent people of sin and possibly convict them to death based on pure speculation and paranoid hysteria. One element of Young Goodman Brown is a criticism of Puritan self-righteousness; the devil points out to Brown that he has “a very general acquaintance here in New England” and then proceeds to cite instances of hypocrisy, prejudice, and persecution (Hawthorne 5).
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.
McKeithan also believes that the theme to Hawthorne’s; Young Goodman Brown, is based on the ability that evil has to persuade man to do wrong and the falseness of man’s virtues. The protagonist in the story, Brown, journeyed in the woods where he discovered that his Puritan community is not virtuous. Brown discovered that the entire community including his wife, whom is portrayed as being pure, indulges in sin and therefore Brown’s life turns dark due to his loss of hope. Literary critic Mark Van Doren states: “Young Goodman Brown'; means exactly what it says, namely that its hero left his pretty young wife one evening … to walk by himself in a primitive New England woods, the Devil’s territory,…and either to dream or actually to experience (Hawthorne will not say) the discovery that evil exist in every human heart…Brown is changed. He thinks there is no good on earth…Brown, waking from his dream, if it was a dream,…sees evil even where it is not…He had stumbled upon that “mystery of sin'; which, rightly understood, provides the only sane and cheerful view of life there is.
As Goodman Brown himself replies to Faith's longing for him to wait until morning to embark on his journey, "My journey needst be done twixt now and sunrise" (611). Goodman Brown knows exactly what he is going to look for, he is searching for evil. He goes to the forest to do his deed and "he had taken a dreary road darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest" to get there(611). Goodman Brown is willingly seeking the devil, and Hawthorne is throwing in all the stereotypes. This entire search for the devil is portrayed as being very ugly.
Both are wounded. As they stop in a forest by “…a young and vigorous sapling stood…,” Malvin entreats Bourne to abandon him and save himself (20). The men are familiar with one another and, at fir... ... middle of paper ... ...wthorne has a message or lesson to us and he delivers his message or lesson by his way such as he made his protagonist in both stories as guilty. His goal is to reveal something about unmoral and the people have, sin, guilt, shame, and they need a repentance. The sin, guilt, and shame, in the case of Bourne, a person who failed to keep his vow, he suffers guilt.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines evil as “morally bad; causing harm or injury to someone; marked by bad luck or bad events”. Christians believe the devil is the symbol of evil. The Bible says “And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). In literature, evil is usually portrayed as a devilish creature, usually bearing the color black as if it was made out of the shadows. In “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Goodman Brown takes a journey into the forest and afterwards is determined the citizens of his village are evil.
As he went deeper into the forest, he becomes more deeply involved with the devil, or evil. It became darker and he loses the light of his beliefs. Goodman Brown met the man in a forest outside of Salem. The forest represents evil and danger. Forests are normally dark with many scary creatures lurking in them.
In the story of Young Goodman Brown the setting sets the stage for the bizarre and strange events that’s about to take place. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s description of the settings in Young Goodman Brown is “a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind” (620); this prepares the reader for a dark and mysterious story with bad omens and supernatural events. The forest itself is referenced throughout the story having Faith’s ribbon and hosting a weird ritual with spirits. The story goes further on to bring the forest to life with line such as “the echoes of the forest laughing like demons around him” (622) it sets the mood to be frightening and chilling. The story Young Goodman Brown builds off its setting as it’s what creates the story’s chilling atmosphere and hidden messages.
Unable to resist temptation, this devilish allusion, in a form resembling Brown’s father, lures him deeper into the forest. The deeper he trekked and saw the evil side of his Puritan people, the more he became one with the darkness in his own soul. Hawthorne’s notions of sin and death are represented in the allusion to original sin and the Fall of Man, the hidden sin within his community and the death of Goodman Brown’s own faith. Original sin and the Fall of Man in this story, take on the perspective of the Puritan or Christian faith. In this context it refers to the temptation in the Garden of Eden which Adam succumbs to, resulting in the idea that evil exists in man; past present and future.