The Old Man And Innocent Goodman Brown Essay

The Old Man And Innocent Goodman Brown Essay

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In Young Goodman Brown, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the old man in the forest is not mentioned or called by name, but it is quite clear who and what he represents. The old man is very symbolic in the story. He is able to awake doubt in Goodman Brown who seemed to be so firm in his faith. His resemblance to Brown and his familiarity with Brown 's ancestors, draws a relationship between the mystery man and innocent Goodman Brown. When the old man speaks, he is always trying to show Brown how evil has already been part of his life, and been undetected. The crisis of the story is the battle between good and evil, and how the evil, being the old man can be quite convincing or even creative and illusive.
The old man in the story has no name, and the author only describes small details, and it is up to the reader to understand the significant meanings. In the story the old man goes by many names, and the author describes, “the second traveler was about fifty years old, apparently in the same rank of life as Goodman Brown” (262). Later in the paragraph, the narrator notes that the old man shares quite a resemblance to Brown, and they could easily be mistaken for father and son. Brown is introduced as an innocent religious man who decides to tempt his faith, and the old man in the woods is hinted at being the devil, due to his attempts to have Brown join him and his cult; when the author compares the two saying they resemble each other, it is assumed that they could be related or the old man could be the evil side of Brown. Nonetheless, it comes across as a bit disturbing to imagine that a faithful man like Brown and a mysterious evil man seem to be related.
Throughout the story, the old man 's goal is to convince Goodman Brown to join him i...


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...frightening and perceived as danger to most people. While darkness, refers to the sinister appearance of the staff, in conjunction with the one holding it. The imagery surrounding the old man in the woods, always adds to the feeling that the old man is not a person at all, and seems to be a supernatural figure.
In the end, the old man fails in having Brown join him but he plants a seed of doubt in Brown, that he cannot shake off. Brown’s doubt stays with him for the rest of his life, and his paranoia leads him to mistrust any of those around him. Even though Hawthorne mentions little about the old man, through the dialogue, by the end of the story the reader can form a clear picture of this sinister character. Throughout the story the old man is often hinted at being mysterious and strange, having superhuman abilities and creating an air of evil for this character.

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