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Feminist Criticism Of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

Decent Essays
In our presentation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown”, the new criticism, marxist and feminist approaches were explored. To begin, Faith, his wife represents his faith, perhaps even God. Once Faith took part in the witch ceremony, it demonstrates that evil can be within everyone, even the most innocent and unexpected including Goody Cloyse and his wife. His journey in the forest captures his loss of innocence and temptation of evil. However, everything is not what seems since evil is perceived by Hawthorne to be a part of human nature or even an inherited trait for all. The ambiguous ending causes readers and even Young Goodman Brown to question whether his experience in the forest was a dream or reality. This forces Young Goodman Brown to distance…show more content…
Religion encourages a following because of its comforting abilities, but according to Karl Marx it demonstrates a false consciousness. For the feminist approach, Faith is portrayed as being afraid, fragile and emotional before her husband’s quest out into the forest. She conforms with the gender binary since she is the angel in the house, which demonstrates that Hawthorne and Young Goodman Brown utilize the male perspective towards females present in the story. Nathaniel Hawthorne seems to be blaming Faith for Goodman Brown’s loss of faith and innocence. This relates to the phenomena of men always blaming women for their mistakes or situations, which perfectly relates to Eve being blamed for being tempted by evil in the story of Genesis. In addition, Hawthorne makes the assumption that all of his readers are men, which was true since in 1835, only men were able to write and read literature. However, according to the feminist critique women in literature, especially during this time period were never main characters in stories that keep the men back from their
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