Is it possible for a man to be SO hypnotized by faith that he is incapable of apprehending the truth that surrounds him? Yes. The principle of faith centers heavily around the confident belief of an idea set by a person or community. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," the faith of an individual conflicts with the faith of the community. The story takes place during the period where all devoted Puritans adopt Calvinism; Goodman Brown being one of them. Calvinism presents the idea that all men are born sinful because of Original Sin. That is, all men are essentially evil within. Moreover, it preaches once man has sin, he is "incapable of any spiritual good" (Hanko 2). Goodman Brown himself is a Puritan, but he is unable to see the dark side of human nature that runs parallel to the faith of his community. The faith that he has is unique to him, thus resulting in the rejection of reality. I FEEL IT IS A LITTLE BIT SUDDEN HERE WHEN YOU TURN TO THE THESIS FROM THE DISCUSSION ABOVE. MAYBE USE A TRANSITION? In the story, Hawthorne uses the imagery of nature to develop the theme of appearance vs. reality. DO NOT START WITH THE WORDS "IN THE STORY" OR "I BELIEVE" OR “I SAY”. I say this because the forest plays a role in exposing the reality that Goodman Brown rejects. He went in a deceived man and exits with a shocking new view. Another use of nature is the serpent, which is quite an appropriate symbol for deception.
The forest INSTEAD OF FOREST, SPECIFY THE SUBJECT LIKE PATH represents Goodman Brown's foreshadowing perception of human nature as evil. The path through the dark woods is itself symbolic of his naive perception of human beings as "angelic." Filled with "in...
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...he trees and brushes NOT PATH? in the forest, along with the imagery of the serpent associated with the mysterious traveler's staff, are symbolic of a mind that is just about to be exposeD to reality. As his allegory ALLEGORICAL name implies, the virtuous nature of Goodman Brown deters him from seeing his community in a different light. His devotion to his own faith results in a detrimental yield to reality. In the end, he himself becomes evil HE DOESN'T BECOME EVIL. HE JUST AVOIDS THE EVIL. as he rejects everyone in his community. The use of nature by Hawthorne demonstrates the conflict between the world of fantasy versus the cruel nature of reality. The fantasy in the story is the faith of a sinless society; however, the reality is that sin is a part of human nature, which parallels the beliefs of Calvinism.
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