Young Goodman Brown By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1951 WORDS

Young Goodman Brown By Nathaniel Hawthorne

"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?" (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

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