Young Goodman Brown and The Fall of the House of Usher

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While reading “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, I couldn’t help but feel a constant overwhelming sense of dread. The root of this could have come from the story’s dark setting deep within an “haunted forest” or from Brown’s mysterious “Devil”-esque companion. While I read, another story came into my mind; the story of the “Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe. In Poe’s tale the same heart pounding emotion can be felt as he describes the reunion of two friends within “the House of Usher.” With the manors “eye-like windows” and “sorrowful impression,” Poe wastes no time in setting the Gothic mood. Through their distinct writing styles Hawthorne and Poe establish a common Gothic theme within their stories. In Hawthorne’s story “Young Goodman Brown” the setting takes place deep within a forest. As Brown travels into the forest he takes “ a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest,” this description begins to paint a picture in the readers mind of the place Brown is traveling into. Brown continues to discuss the forests peculiarity by saying “It was all as lonely as could be; and there is this peculiarity in such a solitude, that the traveler knows not who may be concealed by the innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overhead…” This isn’t the kind of forest you’d see in a childrens book, its a gloomy place that makes you feel cut off from the rest of the world. Hawthorne makes his setting give the story a dark feeling to foreshadow the darker events ahead. The characters in “Young Goodman Brown” also add to the story’s Gothic theme. The first character that stands out is Brown’s wife, Faith. Before Brown sets off for the forest she tells him, “prithee put off your journey until sunrise and... ... middle of paper ... ...flection of himself just as Faith could be seen as such too. She shares his face and is Rodricks biggest burden. Although these two stories were written by two different authors they give the reader the same chilling feel. Poe and Hawthorne’s characters almost mirror one another in each story. Brown was a decent man and when he entered deep within the forest he was forced into a period of mania. The narrator in Poe’s tale was a sane man who also experienced a period of mania after spending time in the Usher estate. Through their characters, symbolism and settings Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne set a similar theme in both their stories. Works Cited Shmoop Editorial Team. "The Fall of the House of Usher Summary." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 27 Feb. 2014. Poe, Edgar Allan. Eight Tales of Terror. New York: Scholastic, 1978. Print.
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