Free YGB Essay: Deciphering a Passage of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

Free YGB Essay: Deciphering a Passage of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

Length: 1057 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

Deciphering a Passage from Young Goodman Brown


" Lo! There ye stand, my children…'"    In the first line of this passage, the figure is trying to gain the trust of the people congregated around the alter. This figure, Satan, is standing before the citizens of Salem addressing them as 'my children' in order to lure them into a false belief in him as their savior. His deep, solemn, and almost sad tone commands sincerity and, seemingly, his feelings of sadness that their belief in God did not work out. 'His once angelic nature' is used to portray that he too was once a follower of God but also chose the road to evil in an effort to empathize with the people of Salem. 'Depending upon one another's hearts, ye had still hoped, that virtue were not all a dream,' was said by Satan to suggested he knew that some of the people of Salem desperately tried to believe that they could be saved and that there were another way other than through evil. Satan then cries, 'Now are ye undeceived! Evil is the nature of mankind.' This is to imply that he is wiping the sleep from people's eyes and it uncovering the truth- that evil is the only way- the natural way. Only through evil can the masses can be happy instead of through any other belief. He again welcomes the people standing before him into his evil kingdom through 'the communion of your race!'

            "Young Goodman Brown" is a portrayal of one man who bids farewell to his wife, Faith, to undertake a secret journey into the night. He sets off on his way at sunset into a thick forest to rendez-vous with an old man who is to lead him to this secret deep in the woods, the secret being a meeting to welcome the people of Salem to Satan's evil kingdom. Goodman Brown, throughout the story, is in conflict with himself as to why he is doing this. He tries to turn back many times but is once again drawn to this inevitable journey by the old traveler. Once he arrives near the meeting, he hears Faith succumb to Satan and rushes to be with her. Goodman Brown then awakes in the forest and returns to Salem. He sees the people who had attended the fiend-worship and can only think evil thoughts of them and their hippocratic ways.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Free YGB Essay: Deciphering a Passage of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown." 21 Nov 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Free YGB Essay - Innocence vs Reality in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

- The story Young Goodman Brown presents two themes; loss of innocence and coping with reality. Loss of Innocence is a major theme of the story and is easily seen. A loss of innocence is when those that do not know something horrible or do not believe in its existence come to an understanding of that horrible thing that forever changes them. The innocents in the story are Goodman Brown and his wife, Faith. Faith, we see is capable of attaining heaven(577), a good place where evil is unknown. Brown is also an innocent as shown by when the devil reveals to him a series of horribles as the two walk through the woods-namely that his grandfather, his mentor, and the preacher have all communed with...   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Free Essays
494 words (1.4 pages)

Free YGB Essay - The Message of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

- "`Lo. there ye stand, my children…”     In the story "Young Goodman Brown", the prominent theme is that everyone has a dark side. As the dark figure clearly states, "Evil is the nature of mankind." Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" describes the hunger for virtue people of the early 19th century had, and how that virtue is all but a dream, through his tone and imagery.             As the passage begins, the first word read is "Lo!" An audience reads this word, and immediately gets the feeling that someone of a supreme nature or of high power is speaking....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Free Essays
1054 words (3 pages)

Free YGB Essay - Perceptions of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

- Perceptions of Young Goodman Brown In "Young Goodman Brown", Nathaniel Hawthorne makes visible the perception we have of what is chaste and amoral by showing Goodman Brown that the people perceived as being the most holy are just as guilty of immoral thoughts. The naming of Goodman Brown is that it could be anyone that has to face these moral issues between good and evil. It is an everyday occurrence for us to want to test the waters of evil. The story is a reflection of existence, being that each has a path to take and decisions to make....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Free Essays
1085 words (3.1 pages)

Romanticism in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown, The Birthmark, and Rappaccini's Daughter

- Romanticism in Young Goodman Brown, The Birth-Mark, and Rappaccini's Daughter      Nathaniel Hawthorne gives his own definition of romanticism in the preface to The House of Seven Gables. According to Hawthorne, the writer of a romance may "claim a certain latitude" and may "deepen and enrich the shadows of the picture," as long as he does not "swerve aside from the truth of the human heart." The writer of a romance "will be mingle the Marvelous" as long as he does it to a "slight," however if he "disregards this caution," he will not be committing "a literary crime" (Hawthorne, House of Seven Gables, preface)....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Research Papers
1062 words (3 pages)

Essay on The Style of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

- “Young Goodman Brown” – the Style                Sculley Bradley, Richmond Croom Beatty and E. Hudson Long in “The Social Criticism of a Public Man” state: “Beyond his remarkable sense of the past, which gives a genuine ring to the historical reconstructions, beyond his precise and simple style, which is in the great tradition of familiar narrative, the principal appeal of his work is in the quality of its allegory” (49). The style found in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” contains the features quoted in the above passage, as well as many others – which will be discussed in this essay....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Free Essays
3380 words (9.7 pages)

The Setting of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

- “Young Goodman Brown” – the Setting             Clarice Swisher in “Nathaniel Hawthorne: a Biography” states that “critics of Nathaniel Hawthorne must deal with . . . imagery of light and dark” (13). There are more dimensions to Hawthorne’s setting in “Young Goodman Brown” than light and dark, but these aspects do play a part. It is the purpose of this essay to explore the elements in the setting in this short story: the general locale, the historical time, the social circumstances in which the action occur, and various physical settings in the tale (Abrams 284)....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Research Papers
1948 words (5.6 pages)

Analysis of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

- Analysis of Young Goodman Brown "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathanial Hawthorne is a short story that is very interesting, as well as entertaining. This essay will first provide a brief summary of the story, followed by an analysis of the importance of symbolism. The nature of evil will then be discussed as it relates to the control of the mind of a once naive and innocent goodman Brown. The climax of the story will be analyzed and the evil within this passage will be discussed and related to the final downfall of goodman Brown....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Research Papers
1515 words (4.3 pages)

The Setting of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

- The Setting of “Young Goodman Brown”      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....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Research Papers
1661 words (4.7 pages)

Characterization in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

- Characterization in “Young Goodman Brown”          The dialogue, action and motivation revolve about the characters in the story (Abrams 32-33). It is the purpose of this essay to demonstrate the types of characters present in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” whether static or dynamic, whether flat or round, and whether protrayed through showing or telling.   There are only three well-developed, or three dimensional characters, in this short story, and they are the protagonist, Goodman Brown, and his wife, Faith, and the fellow-traveller or the devil....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Research Papers
2772 words (7.9 pages)

Structure of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

- Structure of “Young Goodman Brown”       “Almost all literary theorists since Aristotle have emphasized the importance of structure, conceived in diverse ways, in analyzing a work of literature” (Abrams 300). This essay will explore some interesting points in the structure of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” considering the time-frame, foreshadowing, suspenseful incidents, climax and denouement (Axelrod 337).   The narrative in this tale is straightforward until the narrator, late in the story, asks the reader: "Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest, and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting?” This query gives the reader the option of believing that the story...   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Research Papers
1225 words (3.5 pages)

Related Searches

He does not, however, know whether the occurrences were just a dream, but is still plagued with guilt and does not greet Faith when she runs to embrace him. 'His dying hour was gloom,' as he never recovering from his intense guilt.

            One of the underlying motifs in the story is the constant portrayal of guilt by goodman Brown. 'Poor little Faith! What a wretch am I, to leave her on such an errand!' From the very beginning, he felt guilty for leaving Faith and, as the story progressed, so did his sense of guilt heighten. Many times on his journey he tried to turn back because of the pain of guilt, but every time, the old traveler reassured him to keep going. Goodman Brown's guilt grew stronger and stronger until the point when he heard Faith and knew she (it) was gone. He coped with the guilt by reassuring himself that other outstanding members of his community are partaking in the same evil journey to embrace Satan. Goodman Brown is also reassured by the old traveler that his father and grandfather before him have all taken the same journey as he is embarking upon. At the meeting he finds important and influential leaders of the community such as the minister, members of the legislature, his seemingly devote catechism teacher Goody Cloyse, and others, all embracing the devil.

            Symbolism is used extensively to emphasize underlying themes throughout the story. The most blatant use of symbolism was the name of goodman Brown's wife. Faith was used in many ways to provide dual meaning to different passages in the story. Brown had said, 'Poor little Faith! What a wretch am I, to leave her on such an errand!' as he left Salem at the start of his journey. 'Faith kept me back a while' was used when the old traveler asked goodman Brown what kept him. Goodman Brown also proclaimed, 'With Heaven above, and Faith below, I will stand firm against the devil!' after overhearing a conversation between the minister and deacon Gookin about the evil gathering. There were more examples throughout the story, but any of these could mean what they are taken initially to say, or they can be interpreted replacing his wife's person with his faith toward God. Hawthorne constantly referred to Brown as goodman Brown and others such as Cloyse and Gookin as Goody Cloyse and deacon Gooking, but yet all of these people had taken in the devil. Even after goodman Brown's experience, he was still referred to as goodman which is not capitalized suggesting that it has the meaning of good man. This nickname is obviously untrue in the later of the story.

            Many symbols of evil were also present within Hawthorne's story including the serpentine staff, the dark forest, and the use of Salem as the setting. The serpent staff held by the old traveler was mentioned frequently and offered to goodman Brown on more than one occasion. Serpents, especially in the past, were thought of as evil that which Brown was not ready to accept. The thick, dark forest which young Brown and the traveler wandered through symbolized the evil in which Brown was being led into, as was the onset of nightfall. As for Salem, this town is legendary for being plagued by evil witches and demon worshiping. It was also the sight for many witch hunts and hangings of innocent people.


The complete passage:

"`Lo! there ye stand, my children,' said the figure, in a deep and solemn tone, almost sad, with its despairing awfulness, as if his once angelic nature could yet mourn for our miserable race. `Depending upon one another's hearts, ye had still hoped, that virtue were not all a dream. Now are ye undeceived! Evil is the nature of mankind. Evil must be your only happiness. Welcome, again, my children, to the communion of your race!'

Return to