Hugo McPherson in “Hawthorne’s Use of Mythology” comments on the “reason and passion” conflict which he sees in this writer: “Those who read him as a Christian moralist recognize instantly an opposition between Head and Heart, reason and passion which is related not only to Puritan theology but to the Neo-Classical view of man….” (69) Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown”contains both an external and an internal conflict, which this essay will explore.
Literary critics speak in near total unanimity when they mention the dominance of internal conflict over the external type. Peter Conn in “Finding a Voice in an New Nation” comments on Hawthorne’s internal conflicts in his tales: “His most typical stories are darkly lyrical meditations on the devastating consequences that follow when love is withdrawn, whether because of egotism or prejudice or a failure of sexual nerve” (81). R. W. B. Lewis in “The Return into Rime: Hawthorne” states: Finally, it was Hawthorne who saw in American experience the re-creation of the story of Adam and who . . . exploited the active metaphor of the American as Adam – before and during and after the Fall” (72). Edmund Fuller and B. Jo Kinnick in “Stories Derived from New England Living” state: “Young Goodman Brown” uses the background of witchcraft to explore uncertainties of belief that trouble a man’s heart and mind” (31). Q. D. Leavis says: the journey each must take alone, in dread, at night, is the journey away from home and the community, from conscious, everyday social life, to the wilderness where the hidden self satisfies, or is forced to realize, its subconscious fears and promptings in sleep” (36...
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...lection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.
Leavis, Q.D. “Hawthorne as Poet.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.
Lewis, R. W. B. “The Return into Time: Hawthorne.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.
Martin, Terence “Six Tales.” In Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York: Twayne Publishers Inc., 1965.
McPherson, Hugo. “Hawthorne’s Use of Mythology.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.
Swisher, Clarice. “Nathaniel Hawthorne: a Biography.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.
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