Free YGB Essays: Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

Free YGB Essays: Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

Length: 2045 words (5.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓


Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a story about revealing true evil and the loss of one man's faith. Nathaniel Hawthorne left "Young Goodman Brown" up for many interpretations. After reading the story a couple of times, one thing became clear to me. What I absorbed from this story was that evil exists in everyone, does not matter how good we may think we are. Things aren't always what they seem. I say this because the people who attended the devil's meetings, were the ones who attended church with him. The people whom he though were holy and Christian. These people were not holy at all. They were worshipping, praying, and obeying the devil. As Goodman Brown started his journey into the forest, he met an older man. The old man, "was about fifty years old, apparently in the same rank of life as Goodman Brown, and bearing a considerable resemblance to him, though perhaps more in expression than features" (DiYanni, 273). In Brown's ignorance, he does not realize that the one he is with is in fact the devil. This is shown when Brown asks a question in fear before meeting the old man, "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!" (DiYanni, 273). This to me is ironic because then, "His head being turned back, he passed a crook of the road, and looking forward again, beheld the figure of a man, in grave and decent attire, seated at the foot of an old tree. He arose at Goodman Brown's approach, and walked onward, side by side with him"(DiYassi, 273). Here Goodman Brown does not realize that the devil is, in fact, walking "side by side with him"(DiYassi,273). "Goodman Brown recognized a very pious and exemplary dame, who had taught him his catechism in youth, and was still his moral and spiritual advisor" (DiYassi, 275). This dames name was Goody Cloyse. When Brown sees that Goody Cloyse recognizes the old man and cries out, "the devil" (DiYassi, 275), he can't believe it. He now sees her as a "wretched old woman" (DiYassi, 276). Brown is feeling his loss of faith and tries to overcome this by saying, "What if a wretched old woman does choose to go to the devil, when I though she was going to heaven! Is that any reason to leave my dear Faith behind, and go after her?

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Free YGB Essays: Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Nov 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=6988>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Faith in Young Goodman Brown Essay

- Faith in Young Goodman Brown In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," Hawthorne introduces Goodman Brown, who doubts himself and reiterates his false confidence to himself repeatedly. His struggle between the evil temptations, the devil, and the proper church abiding life, is a struggle he does not think he can handle. This story is about a man who challenges his faith in himself and in the community in which he resides. Goodman Brown must venture on a journey into the local forest, refuse the temptations of the devil, and return to the village before the sunrise....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Research Papers
1098 words (3.1 pages)

Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne "Young Goodman Brown", by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a story that is thick with allegory. "Young Goodman Brown" is a moral story, which is told through the perversion of a religious leader. In "Young Goodman Brown", Goodman Brown is a Puritan minister who lets his excessive pride in himself interfere with his relations with the community after he meets with the devil, and causes him to live the life of an exile in his own community. "Young Goodman Brown" begins when Faith, Brown's wife, asks him not to go on an "errand"....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Free Essays
2423 words (6.9 pages)

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

- Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “Young Goodman Brown” portrays the growth of Young Goodman Brown through vivid symbolic setting. “Young Goodman Brown” is an allegory in which the setting is very important to the theme of the story. Throughout the narration, detailed setting and emblematic characters surround Goodman Brown. Goodman Brown is an Everyman character, which could be any one of us, struggling with his Puritan heritage, more specifically his spiritual faith....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Research Papers
1395 words (4 pages)

Importance of Faith in Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Importance of Faith in Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne In Young Goodman Brown, the main character, Goodman Brown has a bout with his own faith. He ends up losing this battle because of the wickedness in everyone else’s hearts. He begins by wanting to be the evil one, then progresses to be the faithful one as the night in the woods goes on. His name has a lot to do with the character in the story. The “Young” in his name is to symbolize innocence, and “GOODMAN” is pretty self-explanatory....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Research Papers
509 words (1.5 pages)

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown's Apocalypse Essay

- Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown's Apocalypse         Most criticism and reflection of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown centers on a good versus evil theme. Critics also debate interpretations of the main character's consciousness; is Brown awake or dreaming.  What is certain is that he lives and dies in pain because his belief in his righteousness isolates him from his community.  It is also certain that Hawthorne's interpretation of Brown's "mid-life crisis" has ambiguity and leaves a reader with many different feelings about what and why certain things have happened.  Hawthorne's use of symbolism in his allegorical tale Young Goodman Brown causes th...   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Research Papers
1020 words (2.9 pages)

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown Essay

- Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown      Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” captivates the reader through a glimpse of the Puritan church. The story also shows the struggle of good versus evil in the main character Goodman Brown. The role of the Puritan church is crucial in shaping Goodman Brown’s personality and helping the reader understand why he was reluctant to continue his journey.      “Puritanism, movement arising within the Church of England in the latter part of the 16th century that sought to purify or reform, that church and establish a middle course between Roman Catholicism and the ideas of the Protestant reformers” (Puritanism 1)....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Research Papers
3249 words (9.3 pages)

Interpretive Differences of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

- Young Goodman Brown - Interpretive Differences Young Goodman Brown, universally acclaimed as one of Hawthorne's best short stories, presents the student searching out its meaning with not only several possibilities but several rather ambiguous ones. D. M. McKeithan, in an article entitled " 'Young Goodman Brown': An Interpretation" (Modern Language Notes, 67 [1952], 93), has listed the suggestions that have been advanced as "the theme" of the story: "the reality of sin, the pervasiveness of evil, the secret sin and hypocrisy of all persons, the hypocrisy of Puritanism, the results of doubt or disbelief, the devastating effects of moral scepticism ....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Free Essays
400 words (1.1 pages)

Sin in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

-   Puritan doctrine taught that all men are totally depraved. And the young Puritan Goodman Brown accepted this principle, after his in-the-woods experience, as applying not only to the Salem village rank-and-file but even to his faultless wife Faith. Is this notion of sin correct. This essay seeks to compare this moral depravity doctrine of the Puritans as seen in “Young Goodman Brown” to the Catholic Church’s teaching on sin, a recognized standard. The influence of Puritan religion, culture and education is a common topic in Nathaniel Hawthorne's works....   [tags: Essays on YGB]

Research Papers
2423 words (6.9 pages)

Excessive Pride in Young Goodman Brown Essay

-         Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is an allegory.  Hawthorne’s moral story is told through the perversion of a religious leader, Goodman Brown. Goodman is a Puritan minister who lets his excessive pride interfere with his relations with the community after he meets with the devil. The result is that Goodman lives the rest of his life in exile within his own community.             "Young Goodman Brown" begins when Faith, Brown's wife, asks him not to go on an "errand".  Goodman Brown says to his "love and (my) Faith" that "this one night I must tarry away from thee."  When he says his "love" and his "Faith", he is talking to his wife, but he is also talking to his "faith" t...   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, YGB]

Free Essays
2406 words (6.9 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)

Related Searches

" (DiYassi, 276). Though Brown is disappointed, he has not yet lost his faith. Goodman Brown finds his faith disrupted, once again, when he observes the minister and deacon secretly from behind a tree. These two "holy men" (DiYanni, 276) are the two people that Brown admires; they are the spiritual leaders of the community. As Goodman Brown listens to their discussing the unholy meeting Brown becomes "faint and over-burthened with the heavy sickness of his heart" (DiYanni, 276). At this point he was in doubt of his faith, but in a struggle to keep his faith he says, "With heaven above, and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil!" (DiYanni, 277). "Faith", Goodman Brown's wife, is his faith in God. Brown loses all faith in God, but he believes that he is better than everyone else. Showing his pride and ignorance. This was Goodman Brown's downfall. Critics tend to focus on different scenes from stories. This critic, Bert A.Mikosh, focuses on his view of "Young Goodman Brown". "The story "Young Goodman Brown" is about a man and his faith in himself, his wife, and the community they reside in. Goodman Brown must venture on a journey into the local forest refuse the temptation of the devil and return to the village before sunrise. The time era is approximately a generation after the time of the witch trials" (Mikosh). He leads on by saying, "The lead character is happy with the locals and his faith until this trip, when he is convinced they are all evil. Upon this discovery he, in a sense, becomes evil" (Mikosh). Bert continues in writing, "When Goodman comes back he thinks he is better than the rest and judges everyone instantly. He then comes to the conclusion that he is the only person that is not a devil worshiper. Just as before with the witch trials, he is judging then as the so-called witches were judged by his ancestors. A reference to Martha Carrier is made in the story, Goodman's predicament is similar to his. She was isolated from the community because of her beliefs just like Goodman. The difference is that Martha's community isolated her, and Goodman felt isolated or isolated himself" (Mikosh). This was a very interesting point. Bert ends by stating this, "The views and beliefs of people of that era were if anything to an extreme. Whatever they believed they worshipped with a vengeance. This extreme faith can be compared to the current time "Career Goal." If the people today can not pursue a career and succeed, the feel as if their life has no meaning" (Mikosh). I don't agree 100% but I understand what he is trying to say. "This most likely has its roots from the Protestant work ethic. The ethic, in general, says that you must work hard to please God and complete for a place in heaven. This story is about such people. The modern day person has taken this work ethic and given it a greedy twist. People of today fight for position, status or power just as much as the pioneer puritans worshiped and studied the bible. The puritans would take the word of the bible as the word, without interpretation, only translation by the minister of the ommunity. Although these career driven people do not have a book to guide their path, they pursue it none the less. Some of these people have lost, or never had the belief, of reaching heaven, or even its existence. These people are the peers of the believers and set the rules or guidelines for career goals. So in effect the status in the community is a way of saying they are better. The people who do not believe in any god-like being fight in an effort to make their mark on the world, for this is the only was they can be recognized or remembered" (Mikosh). This is his view of "Young Goodman Brown". Another critic is Joan Elizabeth Easterley who focuses on the lachrymalimagery in Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown". "Literary critics have interpreted the significance of Goodman Brown's experience in many fashions--allegorical, moral, philosophical, and psychological. However there is an intriguing absence of any reference to the last line of the Sabbath scene to explain Hawthorne's characterization of the young Puritan, despite the fact that Hawthorne signals the importance of the cold drops of dew in a periodic sentence. In essence, Hawthorne here carefully delineates the image of a young man who has faced and failed a critical test of moral and spiritual maturity" (Easterley). "Young Goodman Brown is reproached by his creator because he shows no compassion for the weaknesses he sees in others, no remorse for his own sin, and no sorrow for his loss of faith. The one action that would demonstrate such deep and redemptive human feelings does not take place. Goodman Brown does not weep. Therefore, Hawthorne quietly and gently sprinkles "the coldest dew" on his cheek to represent the absence of tears" (Easterley). "The lack of tears, the outward sign of an inward reality, posits the absence of the innate love and humility that would have made possible Brown's moral and spiritual progression. A meticulous artist and a master of symbolism, Hawthorne uses the twig and the dewdrops deliberately. Drops of water on a man's cheek suggest tears" (Easterley). "On a moral level, Brown's acceptance of others as they are--imperfect and subject to temptation--would have made a mature adulthood and productive and healthy relationships with others possible. But his lack of remorse and compassion, as symbolized by the absence of tears, condemns him to an anguished life that is spiritually and emotionally desiccated. The drops that Hawthorne places on Brown's cheek are of "the coldest dew," devastating in their connotation, for they represent the coldness of a soul that is dying, in contrast to the regenerative warmth of true tears and love" (Easterley). "Human tears are an emotional response, and Hawthorne's allusion to the lack of tears underscores Brown's emotional barrenness. Critical analyses have hitherto focused primarily on Brown's faulty or immature moral reasoning, arguing that the puritan fails the test of the Sabbath because he fails to reason on a mature moral level, either because of the legalism of Puritan doctrine or because of his refusal to admit his own sinfulness (Frank 209, Folsom 32, Fogle23, Stubbs 73) (Easterley). Joan Elizabeth Easterley has opened my eyes. It is interesting to see different views on one story. To wrap up her essay, she ends it by saying, "Nathaniel Hawthorne, the master of symbolism and suggestion, softly sprinkles cold tears on the cheek of young Goodman Brown. This lachrymal image, so delicately wrought, is the key to interpreting the young Puritan's failure to achieve moral and spiritual maturity. Brown cannot reconcile the conflict caused by his legalistic evaluation of others, nor can he transcend this moral dilemma by showing compassion and remorse. In final irony, Hawthorne tells us that the man who sheds no tears lives the rest of his life a "sad" man, whose "dying hour was gloom" (Hawthorne, 90)(Easterley). "Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts, the descendent of a long line of Puritan ancestors. After his father was lost at sea when he was only four, his mother became overly protected and pushed him toward more isolated pursuits. Hawthorne's childhood left him overly shy and bookish, and molded his life as a writer. Hawthorne turned to writing after his graduation from Bowdoin College" (Classic Notes by Gradesaver). "In June, 1849, Hawthorne was discharged from his three year long job with Salem Custom House. He was forty five years old, and although starting to gain a reputation as a writer, remained unable to support himself from writing alone. To make the tragedy even worse, only a few weeks later his mother passed away. Hawthorne fell ill as a result of the difficulties he was facing" (Classic Notes by Gradesaver). "Upon his recovery late in the summer, Hawthorne sat down to write The Scarlet Letter. He zealously worked on the novel with determination he had not known before. His intense suffering infused the novel with imaginative energy, leading him to describe it as the "hell-fired story." On February 3. 1850, Hawthorne read the final pages to his wife. He wrote, "It broke her heart and sent her to bed with a grievous headache, which i took upon as a triumphant success" (Classic Notes by Gradesaver). "Hawthorne was deeply devoted to his wife, Sophia Peabody, and his two children. Hawthorne, though, had little engagement with any sort of social life. Hawthorne passed away on May 19, 1864 in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Emerson described his life with the words "painful solitude." Hawthorne's classic remains one of the most cleanly composed works of American fiction" (Classic Notes by Gradesaver).

 

Bibliography

Fogle, Richard Harter. "Hawthorne's Fiction: The Light and the Dark. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1964.

Folsom, james K. Man's Accidents and God's Purpose: Multiplicity in Hawthorne's Fiction. New Haven: College & UP, 1963.

Frank, Neal. Hawthorne's Early Tales: A Critical Study. Durham: Duke UP, 1972.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Young Goodman Brown." Moses from an Old Manse. Ohio State UP, 1974. 74-90.

Stubbs, Joan Caldwell. The Pusuit of Form: A Study of Hawthorne and the Romance. Chicago: U of Illinois P, 1970.

Easterley, Joan Elizabeth. Lachrymal imagery of Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown." Studies in Short Fiction, Summer91, Vol. 28 Issue 3, p339, 5p. (Located in EBSCOhost).

Mikosh, Bert A. A view of "Young Goodman Brown." URL:http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/~daniel/amlit/goodman/ygmikosh. html (11/26/99).

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Young Goodman Brown." Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and the Essays. 4th ed. DiYanni, Robert, ed. Ny: The McGraw Hill Companies, 1998.

Nathanliel Hawthorne: Classic Notes by GradeSaver. URL:http://www. gradesaver.com/ClassicNotes/Authors/hawthorne.html (12/14/99).
Return to 123HelpMe.com