In the story, Goodman Brown decides to embark on a night journey, with some kind of evil intentions. He is guided by a man who resembles his grandfather, and despite his hesitancy, proceeds to his destination. Brown is shocked to see religious figures along the way, who share the same evil intentions. He is driven to meet the end when he hears his wife Faith's voice calling out. She is his one strand of good that he struggles to hold on to; when he realizes she might be captured by evil, he fills with fear. At the end is their meeting with the devil-figure, where he calls all people to come together under evil.
The main characters in Hawthorne's story "Young Goodman Brown" are Goodman Brown, his wife Faith and the stranger who accompanies Goodman Brown in the forest. At the beginning of the story Brown is bidding his wife, Faith farewell at their front door. Taking a lonely route into the forest, he meets an older man who bears a fatherly resemblance to both Brown and the Devil. Later that night Brown discovers to his amazement, that many exemplary villagers are on the same path including, Goody Cloyse, a pious old woman who once taught him his catechism, but who readily shows that she certainly knew the Devil and practiced witchcraft. With Brown still confident that he could turn back, his older companion departs, leaving behind his curiously snakelike staff and fully expecting that Brown would follow.
Young Goodman Brown is a holy man, with a repressed wish inside of him to explore the unknown. This wish came to him through a dream and changed the rest of his life dramatically. The story "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne shows us the possible outcomes of Young Goodman Brown's decision to explore into the forest to find the unknown. Hawthorne also uses symbols in the story to represent good and evil. It is a story about a man whose true identity prevailed and destroys him from the inside out.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” captivates the reader through a glimpse of the Puritan church. The story also shows the struggle of good versus evil in the main character Goodman Brown. The role of the Puritan church is crucial in shaping Goodman Brown’s personality and helping the reader understand why he was reluctant to continue his journey.
The main focus of the story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is the triumph of evil over good. A supposedly good man is tempted by evil and allows himself to be converted into a man of evil. This is much like the situation that arises in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, where two people are tempted to sin and give in thus submitting themselves to the power of the devil. In this novel, the area where the devil resides is strictly parallel to that in “Young Goodman Brown”.
Hawthorne uses imagery and details to paint a dark landscape. Brown takes “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.” (Hawthorne 1). The night symbolizes evil and sin lurking, hidden by the darkness and absence of light. On his journey, he meets a traveler (Hawthorne 1). The story does not state that this man is the devil, though it is assumed; “it is doubtful that he recognized Satan at first, but he knew that his journey was an evil one, and his conscience hurt him because of his disloyalty to Faith.” (McKeithan 2). This companion walks Young Goodman Brown through the forest where they come across many figures from Brown’s past and present religious circles. They find Deacon Gookin, the town minister, and Goody Cloyse, “a very pious and exemplary dame…and was still his moral and spiritual adviser,” (Hawthorne 3). Later, Young Goodman Brown tells the traveler “‘That old woman taught me my catechism’… and there was a world of meaning in this simple comment.” (Hawthorne 4). The reader can almost hear the disappointment and despair when Brown realizes that his mentor is in the evil forest, just as he is. Hawthorne uses the symbols of role models to show that Brown puts his faith in people, not God. This is an ordinary
Young Goodman Brown is about a young, newly wedded man who leaves his wife, Faith, and to go on a journey into the forest one night. Young Goodman Brown has an innocent and maybe even naïve soul and was looked upon by townspeople as a “silly fellow” (Hawthorne 83). He is accompanied by a mysterious, older man who is later on revealed to be the devil. As they are walking, Young Goodman Brown tries to turn back several times and at one point succeeds in getting rid of the devil. However, when he sees that even his wife has surrendered to the same evil path that he was on, he stops resisting and continues into the forest. He ends up at a witches’ sabbath where he sees familiar faces of people whom he previously looked up to for spiritual guidance; he also finds Faith there and becomes devastated. In the end, he cries out to resist the devil and then wakes up to find himself alone in the forest.
Young Goodman Brown a religious puritan, and his newlywed wife faith are both portrayed as being doubtful and naive. He starts his journey by encountering his wife Faith, who doubtful of his nights journey tries to persuade him into staying home. Naively she allows him to proceed on after Brown criticizes her dubious remarks. She replies by saying " then God bless you!... and may you find all well when you come back" (220). Brown leaves her by telling himself that "after this night I'll cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven" (220). He feels better that he promises a brighter future once he returns, and that he will not leave her side again . From the start of his journey he acknowledges the impious adventure he was about to take. His wife even doubted his errand, and gave him a reason to retreat from his voyage. Goodman Brown didn't want to end his journey atrocious as it was, he needed to discover for himself the truth as it may be called of mankind.
"Why did Goodman Brown leave his wife to fulfill an evil purpose?" "What was his evil purpose?" "Who did he meet in the woods?" "Was it a dream or was it reality?" These are just a few of the questions that ran through my head after reading the short story, Young Goodman Brown. After several nights of reading, rereading, thinking, and debating I've received many revelations of this story; one being the true identity of the "fellow-traveler" mentioned throughout this adventurous tale. You see, he was not just any man, he was the devil himself.
Young Goodman Brown goes from being overly trusting to becoming a paranoid, untrusting man. Once Goodman Brown arrives at the destination and walks with the stranger, they start talking about Goodman Brown's family and how they had traveled down the very same road he is now, however Goodman Brown refuses to believe the traveler: “‘I marvel they never spoke of these matters. Or, verily, I marvel not, […] We are people of prayer” (621). Goodman Brown says he “marvels” at what the stranger has said and insists that his family is a family of prayer and holiness. He later says that he “marvels not’ expressing his disbelief ion the strangers statement. Young Goodman Brown's faith in his religion and that his family are loyal to his religion lead Goodman Brown to believe that they can do no wrong. He has this same reaction when he sees the minister and deacon of his village in the woods, discussing the meeting they are going to: “'besides several Indian powows, who, after their fashion, know almost as much deviltry as the best of us’ […] Young Goodman Brown caught hold of a tree for suppo...
As Brown walks away from his new wife Faith he thinks himself to be wretch to leave her at such a time but then reassures his purpose by promising to, "cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven" (Hawthorne 311). This is simply Hawthorne saying that even when doing wrong it can be justified by doing good from now on: the idea of repenting. Then shortly after entering the wood Brown turns back to look behind him and the instant he looks forward again his "guide" is seated at the base of a tree. He lets Brown know he is 15 minutes late by the Old South clock of Boston the man passed on his way to their meeting. The only oddity about this is that they are in Salem. The pair then walk elbow to elbow through the forest until they spot another traveler no more than 50 yards ahead of them. Brown ducks into the wood line to avoid being recognized only to find the passer by to be Goody Cloyse; a woman of the church who represented all that is good. The woman recognizes Browns companion as the devil taken the form of her
Evidently, ‘Faith,’ in this story, stands for a person as well as a symbol of ethicality, and holiness. Thus, Goodman Brown has started believing in truth, hope, and good will. Later, he goes in the dark evil forest to meet the Devil, who tries to sway him away from his faith. Remarkably, Goodman Brown has been denying the devil’s persuasion, as we see him mentioning: “Faith kept me back awhile.” (Hawthorne, p. 185) This means that the devil has wanted Goodman Brown to join the evil group much earlier, but he was unable. In fact, right after he confronts the devil, he wants to return back to his wife, Faith. Likewise, while walking, Goodman Brown often lags behind to resist the evil temptation. To further counter the devil, he mentions that he would rather go back as he does not want to ruin his family name by being the first one to go in the evil forest. Even though the devil persuades him by presenting him with the historical background of his father and grandfather, he, additionally, presents his religion as the foundation of his faith and goodwill. Similarly, Goodman Brown does not find
The biggest symbol in Young Goodman Brown is the idea of faith. Before he goes on his “errand,” he is talking to his wife, promising he will come back, but in actuality he is talking to his faith, as in religion. He subconsciously knows he is going against his faith on this errand, but will return. “My love and my Faith,” replied young Goodman Brown, “of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee. My journey, as thou callest it, forth and back again…” When Brown says later in the story “I am losing my Faith”, he is not only about his wife, (which is shown through her pink ribbon in the tree), but more about his religion, which is flashing before his eyes. This errand was a test of Goodman Brown’s faith. When Brown hears people singing hymns in swears, it is a symbol of the corruption of the church. The name Goodman Brown I think is very ironic. Is he a good man after this errand?
In 'Young Goodman Brown,'; Hawthorne makes the reader believe that Goodman Brown has learned that truth about the world and how evil it really is. In the story the accounts of Goodman Brown let you believe that he has truly seen the evil in the world and knows what lurks behind everybody masks. He makes you realize that even though the person may look holy and religious that evilness is all around us and most people will never ever find out the truth. The character Young Goodman Brown written by Nathaniel Hawthorne finds many issues of evil concerning the town's people in which he lives, about himself, and the reality behind the evil.
Young Goodman Brown is a newlywed Puritan who leaves his wife, Faith on what he terms “an errand,” which the reader later learns to be a meeting with the devil. Brown believes he can face and resist the devil. Initially, his wife, Faith, begs him to stay, and Brown patronizingly soothes her only to discover her as one of the devil’s converts. Ultimately, Brown holds Faith most culpable for his disillusion with the supposed elect of his community.