Losing Faith and Gaining Shame

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“Young Goodman Brown” may have been published more than a century ago; however, it is a story whose deeper meanings can still provoke a stirring within the hearts of many today, especially amongst those who consider themselves religious. Hawthorne composed a literary work that creatively illustrates the quintessential human struggle between the good and evil within every human to ever walk the earth. However, “Young Goodman Brown” does not simply walk us through this struggle, as many other stories do, but it also demonstrates the consequences a person must face after a fall from faith into corruption. Young Goodman Brown decides to travel down a dark path, taking part in acts of moral depravity, all of his own inclination; and he must face the reality of a decision he made all on his own, one that may have changed how he saw the people around him but more importantly how he saw himself. Although it is so much simpler for young Goodman Brown to condemn those around him for their wickedness, the blame rests squarely on his shoulders, and his personal sin and consequent guilt is the root of his demise. Young Goodman Brown’s name is quite fitting because, by any normal standard, he is essentially a good man whom people alive in the 1800s and people living in the 21st century can relate to. He hasn’t hurt anyone, and he isn’t running from the law: he’s your average, small town guy with a wife at home and a normal life. Therefore, the reader can easily identify with him. As the
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