“Young Goodman Brown” is a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne that describes a night of Goodman Brown in the forest where he walks with the devil and discovers the truth about evil lurking in the human heart. The events of Hawthorne’s story do not have any supernatural cause. The events are the results of human illusion encountered by people having schizophrenic or bipolar hallucinatory episode. In this paper, the radical changes of Young Goodman Brown’s personality due to hallucination is discussed, first, in his paranoid behavior, then his wrong/mis perception of the devil and his staff, in addition, his illusion about the voices and the evil ceremony in the forest and finally, sudden change in his behaviour after the night.
The beginning of the story Hawthorne introduces us to Young Goodman Brown as he says goodbye to his wife of three months when he plans to go to the forest. He shows an erratic paranoid behavior when Faith asks him to stay. He replies, “of all nights in the year this one must I tarry from thee” (Hawthorne 242). He keeps on emphasizing he had to go for a walk in the dark forest. He promises her that this was the last time he is going. As if he has made such promises before. He keeps on stressing that this is the night he has to go which is a sign of people having psychological issues. Not only they are obsessed with what they think they should do, but also they have to do it. He drove along the dreary and darkest road. The forest trees seemed gloomy to him and the driving path to be narrow and creepy. As a matter of fact, this type environment is proven to be a cause of nervous breakdown and hallucination. (Wikipedia) Correspondingly Goodman Brown’s ...
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...muttered to himself, and gazed sternly at his wife, and turned away. And when he had lived long, and was borne to his……. they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom. (Hawthorne 252)
From Goodman Brown’s personality a social man, a faithful follower and a loving husband all these characters got lost and he became a gloomy and doubtful man.
That night in the dark and gloomy forest and wind sweeping all around him Goodman Brown had a hallucination of losing his faith which is a clearly visible in his paranoid behavior, his wrong/mis perception of the devil and his staff, his illusion about the voices and the evil ceremony in the forest and finally sudden change in his behavior after the night. Thus a natural psychological breakdown changed his personality radically.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Young Goodman Brown.
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