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Young Goodman Brown

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Young Goodman Brown" tells the tale of a young Puritan man drawn into a covenant with the Devil. Brown's illusions about the goodness of his society are crushed when he discovers that many of his fellow townspeople, including religious leaders and his wife, are attending a Black Mass. At the end of the story, it is not clear whether Brown's experience was nightmare or reality, but the results are nonetheless the same. Brown is unable to forgive the possibility of evil in his loved ones and as a result spends the rest of his life in desperate loneliness and gloom.

Guilt vs. Innocence

Hawthorne presents Young Goodman Brown's evening of diabolical revelry as the first and last fling with evil the inexperienced young man ever has. Early in the story, Brown says: "after this one night I'll cling to [Faith's] skirts and follow her to heaven." He believes Faith is an "angel" and one of the Puritan elect who is destined for heaven.

Unfortunately, Brown's experience in the forest makes him reject his previous conviction of the prevailing power of good. He instead embraces the Devil's claim--"Evil is the nature of mankind"-- by crying out "Come, devil: for to thee is this world given." This ackno..... (1.7 pages / 501 words in this section)

... feel trapped in the forest, as it had closed in behind him every step of the way. When he decided to continue on with his journey, the forest quickly began to intimidate and overcome him as "the road grew wilder and drearier and more faintly traced, and vanished with length." This is significant due to the fact that Goodman Brown start to realize that he was destined to come face to face with evil and there appeared to be no turning back. As he fights his innermost fears and weaknesses, he continues on with his journey, and slowly comes to the realization that the world that he is living in is not as perfect as he had once thought.

As Young Goodman Brown enters the bowels of the forest, he is confronted with a haunting familiarity of the sights and sounds that encompassed him. The sounds of a familiar hymn swelled ...

"Young Goodman Brown," by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is about testing one's faith (whether literally or symbolically is a question you'd probably have to consider): that is the subject. The theme is what Hawthorne says about



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