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Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown's Apocalypse Essay

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown's Apocalypse

Most criticism and reflection of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young

Goodman Brown centers on a good versus evil theme. Critics also debate

interpretations of the main character's consciousness; is Brown awake or

dreaming. What is certain is that he lives and dies in pain because his

belief in his righteousness isolates him from his community. It is also

certain that Hawthorne's interpretation of Brown's "mid-life crisis" has

ambiguity and leaves a reader with many different feelings about what and

why certain things have happened. Hawthorne's use of symbolism in his

allegorical tale Young Goodman Brown causes the main character's
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What he considers moral and "good" in his

life he finds in the forest. This torments his perception of practically

everything.

A good man in Hawthorne's day was a person of proper lineage. This

very lineage Hawthorne capitalizes on as he begins the goodman's conference

with the devil. The Goodman claims that he is from a family of upright and

moral men that have never and would never go into the forest on a trip

such as the one he is participating. "Hawthorne depends upon this defense

to criticize the patriarchal lineage upon which a person places his worth"

(Segura). The devil disproves Brown's theory by stating that all of

Brown's ancestors accompanied him and tortured women in Salem or burned to

the ground Indian villages. Afterwards the devil and his ancestors would

go for a friendly walk. With this, Hawthorne has mocked the institution of

Young Goodman Brown's lineage and his society's view of honor by stating

his family's past. The question remains whom or what is the devil. If the

devil points to the painful truth of the past and the reality of people in

the present, is this the allegorical face of evil (Seg ura)? Perhaps

Hawthorne playing upon the reader's disposition to see the devil as evil

and stand next to the "good man" and his fate?

Distraught, disappointed and confused, Brown leaves the company of

the devil. He
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