Evil, Faith, and Redemption in Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown Essay

Evil, Faith, and Redemption in Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown Essay

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Evil, Faith, and Redemption in Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown


There are many things that go on “behind closed doors” in today’s culture. In
many cases it is not closed doors that conceal what goes on, but the dark. Usually what is
not seen is not considered good. During the time of early America, there was an event
that came to be known as the Salem witch trials. This event has sparked many debates
and many folk tales. Nathaniel Hawthorne writes in a way to show the error of modern
culture. This style allows him to speak to everyone, including his own community. He
does this by using the themes of the story to show the tendencies of modern culture. In
Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” the themes of redemption, the source of evil, and
the power of faith are developed and can be used to show the problems in today’s culture.
The belief of redemption, in modern day culture, bases itself on human
perspective over God’s intervention, and human perspective is how the main character in
“Young Goodman Brown” believed he found his salvation. This is not the actual way to
find redemption. Redemption, according to the Bible, is the payment of sins through the
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The story begins as a man, Goodman Brown,
leaves to go out to a meeting that turns out to be for witchcraft and finds himself torn
between going to the meeting or deciding to stay at home. Brown wants to go home to his
wife Faith and believes if he goes back he will not be punished for his sins. At first he
comes to a decision to discontinue his trip to the meeting; he later changes his mind and
chooses to move on his path to the meeting and sin. Brown decides to continue because
of the shock he just recei...


... middle of paper ...


...ut the faith they
have. Hawthorne leaves the problem of faithless people unresolved. I believe he does this
to show that faith is an idea that is so loosely thrown around that it has lost its meaning.
Simply stated, redemption, the source of evil, and the power of faith are themes
developed by Nathaniel Hawthorne that display problems in today’s culture. Although
these issues occur frequently, many people decide to ignore them. Many of these difficult
situations in today’s society present themselves behind closed doors or in the dark. These
problems happen today, and they have happened in the past. It is best that we find a way
to deal with these issues before they reach the future.

Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown.”Making Literature Matter. Ed. John
Schilb and John Clifford. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. 1085-95.

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