This essay will examine the main physical settings within Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown.” These are four in number and begin and end in the village of Salem.
The tale opens at Goodman and Faith Brown’s house, in the doorway where the protagonist is telling his wife goodbye, and where she is trying to dissuade him from his planned adventure on this particular night. Most of the elements in this setting are positive, bright, hopeful: a sunset; a familiar street and home; pink ribbons on Faith’s cap.
As Goodman departs and walks down the street past the meeting-house, his physical setting begins to deteriorate as he turns onto 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."”His new setting in the woods is “lonely,” has “solitude,” and reflects Goodman’s footsteps, which are “lonely.” His suspicion and fear grow as he reflects: “"There may be a devilish Indian behind every tree," said Goodman Brown to himself; and he glanced fearfully behind him, as he added, "What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow!"
When he turns his head to the front again, after pa...
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...ond. "'Young Goodman Brown': The Second Time Around." The Nathaniel Hawthorne Review 19 (Spring 1993): 18-21.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Complete Short Stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York: Doubleday and Co., Inc.,1959.
The Holy Bible, King James Version-Old and New Testaments, with the Apocrypha
James, Henry. Hawthorne. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997.
Martin, Terence. Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York: Twayne Publishers Inc., 1965.
Wagenknecht, Edward. Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Man, His Tales and Romances. New York: Continuum Publishing Co., 1989.
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