Hawthorne 's Young Goodman Brown

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“Young Goodman Brown” and the Road to Hell In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown,” he explores the downfall of the spirit of Goodman Brown and destroys the innocence and predestination of the title character by taking him down the metaphorical road to Hell. The road in the story passes into the forest surrounding Salem Village, and Hawthorne expresses the Puritan conclusion of all things evil to be found in the woods with the quote, “Come witch, come wizard, come Indian powwow, come devil himself….” (Myers, p. 385) Goodman Brown’s wife, Faith implores him to not go on the journey, but he insists, and thereby sets himself up for his own downfall when he turns his back on the representation of his innocent illusions of the purity of those around him, as represented in his wife. The dark forest setting, and the road through it, in the story has a nightmarish, dreamlike quality. The imagery of the forest, path, and darkness possibly represents the passage of Goodman Brown’s journey from “saved” to “lost” in the puritan Calvinistic religious view. The puritan belief that the forest is a cursed place derives from the bible, where the forest is often depicted as a wilderness and cursed place. Accordingly, the road to Hell is most often depicted in literature as dark, lonely, and twisted, and often passes through a forest. In the story, the road through the forest is described as, “…a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which
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