Young Goodman Brown embarks on a midnight journey through a dark and foreboding forest, on his way to fulfill his “present evil purpose.” He leaves his wife Faith behind, this being the type of errand he doesn’t wish to expose her to. Faith in Goodman Brown’s eyes is a good woman and “a blessed angel on Earth.” (Hawthorne, 1835) Although she wishes for him to stay, and he too feels guilty for leaving her to attend to this errand, he knows he must complete this task and knows that to mar her with the evil of it would taint her pureness of heart forever. He leaves Faith behind, to trudge through a dark, deep, and dense forest to his destination; a witch meeting. Along the way he meets several of his townspeople and, at the pinnacle of the story upon arriving, comes upon many more whose sins and acceptance of those same sins he recognizes as the very same they repudiate in church every Sunday. Included are the clergy, the old woman who taught him his catechism, town counsel, and everyday citizens both of good repute and those with tarnished reputations. There in the midst of this evil revelry was Faith, and he and she were to be welcomed into the coven that very night. In the instant he begged her to resist the temptations offered in the ability to participate in the sins of all who were present, he found himself alone and calm to make his way back to Salem. He found Salem as he left it with its citizens going about their normal daily activity, his wife Faith waiting eagerly to welcome him home. He rebuffs her welcoming advance and instead and passes her by without a word. The night’s activities be they a dream or reality, change the heart of Goodman Brown; he spends the rest of his days cringing in the face of goodness and c...
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... and his community lead. The meaning of these hints of what is surely to come and their meanings can change as the reader contemplates the meaning of the story and how that meaning may change over the course of the story.
Language and Style
The language of this story is appropriate for its time and is written in a form of old English or colonial English. While at the time of publication this is an expected finding, for the modern reader it can be difficult to read. The use of this style alone, for the modern reader, can make it seem as though it was written in a formal manner. However, putting into the context of the audience it was written for during the early 1800s, it could be seem as not only casual but as written specifically for the ease of reading for the purpose of getting Hawthorne’s message and moral ideas about religion and sin out to the general public.
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- Plot Young Goodman Brown embarks on a midnight journey through a dark and foreboding forest, on his way to fulfill his “present evil purpose.” He leaves his wife Faith behind, this being the type of errand he doesn’t wish to expose her to. Faith in Goodman Brown’s eyes is a good woman and “a blessed angel on Earth.” (Hawthorne, 1835) Although she wishes for him to stay, and he too feels guilty for leaving her to attend to this errand, he knows he must complete this task and knows that to mar her with the evil of it would taint her pureness of heart forever.... [tags: Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Religion]
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