Essay about Young Goodman Brown:: Analyzing Brown's Identity

Essay about Young Goodman Brown:: Analyzing Brown's Identity

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In the short story “Young Goodman Brown,” Nathaniel Hawthorne sets the locale of the story during the Salem witch trials at his convenience to include the Calvinist theme of sin, that belief in which formed the early history of New England’s social and spiritual identity. As a dark romantic, Hawthorne includes the elements of human nature, mysticism, good and evil, and one’s own spirituality to convey his message to the reader. However, it is left to the reader’s own digression to interpret his ambiguous conclusions. At the beginning of the short story, Brown finds himself on a journey to the enchanted forest outside of his village for a mysterious appointment. Unknowingly, Brown is traveling into the heart of darkness in which he will be tempted to surrender his faith for innate depravity. It is then where one can identify with Brown through the events, actions, and dialogue that Hawthorne used to place emphasis on the Calvinist sense of sin, idea of moral imagination, and the symbolism used as well.
“Young Goodman Brown” has been considered an excellent short story that has been widely criticized by many critics. However, most critics disagree that Brown lost his faith. Perhaps, their reasoning is based on the statement, “My Faith is gone!” professed by Brown when he discovers his wife’s voice and pink ribbon in the dark forest (Hawthorne 392). According to Thomas Connolly, “not only did he retain his faith, but during his horrible experience he actually discovered the full and frightening significance of his faith.” At the beginning of the story, Brown was seen as a devout Calvinist in which he truly believed he was one of the elect. The errand on which he is going is understood as a prearrangement with the devil. Because of h...


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Cook, Reginald. "The Forest of Goodman Brown's Night: A Reading of Hawthorne's "Young
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Fogle, Richard H. "Ambiguity and Clarity in Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown"" JSTOR.
The New England Quarterly, Dec. 1945. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Young Goodman Brown." The Norton Anthology of American
Literature. 8th ed. Vol. B. New York, NY: Norton, 2012. 386-95. Print.
Jamil, S. Selina. "Carnivalesque Freedom In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown." Explicator
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