Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne provides the reader with a unique insight into the lives of people in an early Puritan community. By the use of psychological and formal analysis, we capture a deeper sense of the story of a young man's struggle between his undeniable desires and his morality.
Freud speculated that the repression of our sub consciousness and that, which we are unaware of, is manifested into the id, ego, and superego. These three super powers in our brain are responsible for the influence life has on us. Surfacing through our personal choices, and consequently our reaction to life, they form who re really are. We will discuss the interpretation of these three powers in Brown through the psychological approach to literary analysis.
Formalistically, Hawthorne writes a wonderful story full of description, imagery, and symbolism. When Hawthorne writes, "Faith, as she was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons", we envision a wholesome, loving wife. The liturgy used by the author invokes emotion from the reader to empathize with her deep commitment to her husband and the passionate plea she makes to her husband to remain home and not make this journey. The expressive detail used to describe the gathered congregation and the stone alter provide a vivid and concrete setting in the reader's mind and provides a perfect example of paratactic literature. On the other hand, the description of the four blazing pines (HCAL pg.383) subtly leads the reader to envision the biblical burning bush with definite symbolism.
It is through this detailed narrative that we are ...
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...ugh he returns home to where it seems nothing has changed, he has. Brown is not able to live the happy life he once had after his experience. There is now an overwhelming sense of doubt. His perfect world has been brought down around him as he realizes that all that he thought was moral and right was merely an allusion.
It is this conflict that destroys Brown. He is tormented by this apparent revelation for the rest of his life. "A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man did he become from the night of that fearful dream." Brown lost all faith in himself, every person, and everything around him. For Brown, the superego he used as a balance to his id was destroyed that night. With no superego, the ego is lost and has no job to perform. Goodman Brown spent the rest of his life unhappy and scornful.
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