In the story "Young Goodman Brown," written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author introduces evil images to tempt and delude Young Goodman Brown as he made his way through the woods. Goodman Brown, by the end of his journey, understands there is an evil side to human nature and believes that man is doomed by "original sin."
The main character, Goodman Brown is introduced as a well-mannered man who is happily married to Faith. Initially, the language such as "sunset" and "pink ribbons" symbolizes light and a positive environment in Salem Village, where the story takes place. Then, as Goodman Brown journeys through the woods, changes in the environment make him change the way in which he sees the world and people around him.
From the time he decides to go to the woods at night, this peaceful panorama presented in his hometown changes. Evil images like "devil, lonely thick boughs, "1 add an obscure and negative side to the story.
He had taken 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 (p. 62).
This example reflects the change in environment for Goodman Brown after he left the positive world of the village. He felt he was passing through an unseen multitude since he could not know if there was someone concealed by the trees. This situation makes him question: "What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow" (p. 62). Goodman Brown, who wasn't aware of the existence of an evil side to the world, is being introduced to it through the natural objects in the woods, which provided a warning sign of the evil to come.
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...ream" (p. 70). Now the natural world and even his wife and fellow Puritans reveal a concept of evil to him. This makes him lose his faith in his religion and his own people. "My faith is gone! ... There is no god on earth; and sin is but a name. Come devil; for to thee is this world given" (p. 67). Whenever the minister talked about the sacred truths of religion, with the bible in his hands: "...then did Goodman Brown turn pale, dreading lest the roof should thunder down upon the gray blasphemer and his hearers" (p.70). His new attitude towards life in the village is a measure of his acceptance of the idea that man is doomed by "original sin."
Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Young Goodman Brown," in Literature: Reading and Writing the Human Experience, eds. Richard Abcarian, Marvin Klotz, Peter Richardson, 7th ed. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998), p.62.
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