Corrupting Society In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown, By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1885 WordsOct 12, 20178 Pages
Corrupting Society In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown,” Hawthorne presents the tale of a young man from Salem, Massachusetts during colonial America. One night, Brown accidentally witnesses a witches meeting in the forest where he sees the rest of the town, including his wife Faith, in attendance. This comes as quite a shock to Brown and the next morning, but he cannot remember whether or not the scene was real of simply a dream. Regardless, from then on Brown lives his life in opposition to the rest of the town. Although it may seem that the meaning of the story comes simply from an evaluation of Brown himself, and the actions he takes against the townspeople, more needs to be done to fully comprehend the totality…show more content…
“Lies, self-righteousness, and gullibility can degrade a society” (Reynolds 53). These words form the basic interpretation taken by Hawthorne regarding the cause of events that occurred in Salem during the trials. No specific reason has been found by researchers, but many place the blame on the leaders in Salem during 1692. Among the most blamed individuals during this time is Cotton Mather, author of The Wonders of the Invisible World, which is a detailed description of the accused witches of the Salem. There is evidence to believe that Hawthorne based much of “Young Goodman Brown” after the lives and writings of the Mather family. It seems that the Mathers, in their writings and sermons, caused an unwarranted worry of witchcraft among the Puritans. “The Salem witchcraft crisis was clearly inseparable from the figure of Cotton Mather in Hawthorne’s imagination” (Ronan 261). The workings of the Mather family, especially Cotton Mather, are categorized as simply lies given to the people of Salem; unfortunately, those individuals found truth in the words of the Mathers and believed in the witchcraft. This quickly formed gullibility can be shown through the opinions formed by Brown in the end. As mentioned earlier, Hawthorne accused the sudden obsession with witches and their evil deeds to the fact that many people believed any information given

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