Essay about Good Vs. Evil in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

Essay about Good Vs. Evil in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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Good vs. Evil

The short story, "Young Goodman Brown" is a fascinating rendition of the battle between good and evil. The reader must delve into the depths of his/her own beliefs to understand what the symbolism is. Nathaniel Hawthorne writes an entire lesson in life as one big symbol using allegory. The various examples are fruitful and will be presented throughout this essay.

First, the main character's name is Goodman Brown. Does this mean something? It seems Nathaniel Hawthorne wished it to be that way. After reading the story, the reader is left with the impression that "GOOD-MAN" in the focal character's name symbolizes that this will be the good character in the battle between good and evil. Hawthorne begins the allegory immediately with the setting, "Young Goodman Brown came forth....And Faith, as the wife was aptly named..." (Emphasis on the "aptly named" part). This indicates there is an ulterior motive for naming the wife Faith. Hawthorne also points out the pink ribbon of Faith's cap when she calls to her husband, and this becomes important later in the story. Combining the opening character introduction with the description of the environment establishes the theme of the story, if one could think on the same level as Hawthorne.

The setting of the forest is that of darkness, dreariness, disillusionment, perhaps symbolizing one's path for the journey through life. Faith, Goodman Brown's wife, is a symbol of Goodman Brown's actual faith and purity at the start of his journey. Brown wants to believe he can live his life the way he wants, but investigate "sin," and then come back to Faith when he is ready. This is signified by the statement, "Well; she's a blessed angel on earth; and after this one ...


... middle of paper ...


...s, "Look up to Heaven, and resist the Wicked one!"

When Brown arrives back in Salem, he is a changed man. He has retained the knowledge of the sinful state of mankind, and he readily sees the hypocrisy of the so-called Christians around him. Unfortunately, Goodman Brown truly has lost his faith. Though his wife appears unchanged and wishes to welcome him with open, loving arms Brown rejects her. The reader is left slightly confused as to why, but perhaps Brown has given up hope that good can win over the enormous amount of sin or evil out there. He is unable to accept Faith now that he is forced to see her in her unclean or imperfect state. Brown can no longer see the good for the evil surrounding him, and has lost all hope. Although Brown tried to resist the devil, in the end he failed in his journey of exploring evil and returning to the side of good.

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