Young Goodman Brown

Satisfactory Essays
Faith or Face?
“Young Goodman Brown” is short story about a young Puritan man who sets out on a journey through the forest to witness a witch ceremony, leaving his wife, Faith. He must resist the devil’s temptation and return to her at sunrise, as promised. On his journey Brown experiences events that alter his way of thinking forever. This story is centered around the concept of Faith. Faith is used to show the extent to which religion can become the driving force in one’s life. Faith is defined as an “unquestionable belief in and loyalty to God” (Guralmick 502). Faith can control one’s behavior and manipulate one’s mind in the same way that one’s extreme face or pride can. Goodman let his excessive pride in himself destroy his relationship with his wife and community, and his ability to worship God.
Goodman Brown goes into the woods to meet with the devil, therefore, he is questioning his faith from the start. He steps away from his faith for a short period of time to go on his journey saying that, “After this one night, I’ll cling to her (Faith) skirts and follow her to Heaven” (Hawthorne 1). This is one example where Goodman’s excessive pride comes in to play. He feels that he can do this sinful deed because he promised himself he would repent afterwards. When his companion, the devil, alerts him of his late arrival Brown replies, “Faith kept me back awhile” (Hawthorne 1). This can be taken as his faith to God delayed his meeting to the devil, but his pride allowed him to go. As he gets deeper into the forest, Goodman Brown’s faith begins to lessen. He doubts that he will be able to resist temptation. He shows his faith by saying, “My father never went into the woods… nor did his father before him. We have been a race of honest men and good Christians, since the days of the martyrs” (Hawthorne 2). Then the devil lessens Brown’s faith by replying, “I helped your grandfather, the constable, when he lashed the Quaker woman so smartly through the streets of Salem. And it was I that brought your father a pitch-pine knot, kindled at my own hearth, to set fire to an Indian village, in King Philip’s war. (Hawthorne 2). Brown still stands by his faith even after the devil informs him of his doings with the deacon.
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