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Critical Analysis Of Young Goodman Brown English Literature Essay

Info: 1117 words (4 pages) Essay
Published: 1st Jan 1970 in English Literature

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Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne recounts the riveting dream of a young man from Salem. In the dream, Goodman Brown comes to a defining moment with evil and is enforced to observe the nature of evil in the world. The author also uses symbolism throughout the story of Young Goodman Brown. Nathaniel Hawthornes short story of Young Goodman Brown is a representation of the Puritan belief as well as mans struggle between good and evil. Goodmans faith or lack thereof is explored in many ways. This analysis will emphasize on the theme of Young Goodman Brown as well Hawthorne s usage of symbolism throughout the story. Goodman Brown is dismayed by the evil he finds, not realizing his own involvement. The tale embodies the conflict between personal freedom and conventionality, and explores the often fine line between good and evil. Hawthorne dictates the story of a man battling inner demons and in many ways normalcy.

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The synopsis of the story is sin and the effect sin has on mankind as a whole. Sin has many ramifications to it that has to be dealt with. One may believe the theme of the story is based on the ability that evil has the power to persuade man to do wrong and the falseness of mans virtues. The event starts with Goodman Brown leaving his wife, Faith for an overnight task. She pleads with him not to go, but he goes against her wishes and goes anyway. Faith is the single symbol of hope in the story. She is his only salvation for his return. She represents love, as in the love among men and women and as well the love, faith and loyalty he has in God. In hindsight, by parting Faith in the start of the story, he is leaving his faith in good and God. Faith, in the beginning of the story, is a dedicated wife who warns her husband to stay with her because of a vision she had in a dream. Goodman Brown is relying on Faith to redeem him after his visit with the devil. It is obvious later that Faith knows that something is going on and she does not want her husband out in it.

He finds comfort in the fact that he can make it up to faith when he returns. When Goodman Brown at last comes opposite with the devil, he states that the cause for him being late was because “Faith kept me back awhile”. This sincere statement has two meanings since the encounter with his wife prohibited him from being prompt for his encounter with the devil, but his belief to God also deferred his meeting. Goodmans fight between good and evil is even greater than he realized.

It was a very dark night but Goodman Brown come to a decision that he must go on this passage, but promises to return as soon as possible. Faiths words traveled with Brown and his journey was full with guilt and fear for parting her, in the back of his mind. He regretted leaving Faith the way he did. As Goodman Brown makes his way into the forest, he is greeted with shadows. The whole time, Brown is accompanied on his journey by many different characters. He runs into a man with a staff that looks like a snake. This man offers the snake staff to Brown and he Brown refuses to take it. He meets up with Goody Cloyse, who, as well, presents the use of her staff to hasten his walk, and he declines but walks on with her for a good bit. After awhile he breaks free and sits on a stump, announcing that he will not walk any further. As Goodman Brown rested; a wagon approaches and he hears familiar voices, including that of his beloved wife Faith. A wind blows heavily and he sees his wife¿½s pink ribbon caught in a branch. He carries on with his journey at a faster walk, and shortly comes to a clearing where a ceremony was taking place with many familiar faces; They were the towns citizens, who were all well esteemed within his church and community. It was a communion ritual of sorts, and his dear Faith was one of the new entrants. The two meet eyes and he cries to her “Faith! Faith!”, “look up to heaven, and resist the wicked one.” The following morning he finds himself in the forest and wonders what happened the previous night. He cannot distinguish reality from dreams. Whether the previous night events he witnessed were real or his imagination, he believes what he remembers and trusts no-one in the village, not even his beloved wife. Goodman Brown lives the rest of his years a miserable and distrusting man because of that faithful night in the woods.

When Goodman returns back to the village he thinks he is better than the rest and judges everyone instantaneously. He comes to the termination that he is the only person that is not a devil worshiper. Goodman Brown is completely blindsided when he awakens form his dream. As he roams the eerie streets of Salem he is unable to distinguish his dreams from reality. He is unable to cope with the discovery that the potential for evil resides in everybody. What makes the experience worse is that everyone that is important to Goodman Brown is in the dream. These people have been living a lie and are complete strangers to him. The rest of his life is ruined because of his inability to face this truth and live with it among other things. The dream, has planted the seed of doubt in Brown’s mind, which consequently cuts him off from his fellow man and leaves him alone and depressed. From a ethical viewpoint, Young Goodman Brown is tattered between something that was so real that it left him utterly at a loss as to whether to disbelieve it or not. His entire world has been stunned. Every esteemed person he had ever met his entire life has just been exposed for something other than what he was lead to believe they were. His wife may or may not be implicated in something that he wants no part of. Not only is his faith broken but he no longer trusts the ones around him. He¿½s caught in an emotional and illogical dilemma because he doesn¿½t know who he can turn to or if he can even believe what he has seen. The fact that he can¿½t distinguish his dream from reality is quite disturbing. He doesn¿½t want to speak of it and be called crazy for the possibility of it all being a dream. In the end he lived a long, lonely life, no one even gave him an epitaph on his tombstone.

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Goodman Brown was a man shattered by his own fascination. He lived a unhappy life as an outcome of the guilt he felt for embarking on an evil journey in his dreams; which resulted in his doubt of everyone and a lack of trust for individuals in his community, humanity and himself. What would life be like if he¿½d hadn¿½t had the dream? The only way Goodman Brown would have been able to save his faith would have been to never go on board on the dark path.


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