Rigidity of Puritanism Exposed in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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Rigidity of Puritanism Exposed in Young Goodman Brown

Proverbs 10:28 implies the idea of the universality of sin in

saying "The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked

come to nothing." In "Young Goodman Brown", Nathaniel Hawthorne

illustrates this through Brown's actions. When Brown lives a righteous

life with good faith, his thoughts remain pure and happy. He has a

wonderful wife, and he enjoys the presence of everyone. As he takes his

walk into the forest and into evil ways, his hopes and faith disappear. He

no longer loves his wife in the same way, and he despises everyone whom

people consider were holy. When he loses his faith, he loses his happiness.

To
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evil feeling adds to the dreary mood, and it also gives a hopeless feeling

to the reader. Nothing good comes out of evil, and these words tell the

reader that something horrible might happen. He then describes Brown as "

stern," or "sad," or even a "desperate man," who needs help. Brown's

experiences horrify him. They eventually change him to a stern and sad man.

He can never see his friends and loved ones the same. When you think of

hopelessness, disparity often comes to mind. Brown feels desperate and

hopeless about his future. He doesn't know what to do about this nightmare.

The thought of losing his wonderful past frightens him.

Also, symbolism plays a large role in promoting the idea of

universal capacity for sin. For instance, the name alone of Young Goodman

Brown stands for every Puritan man. He, like all others, must eventually

face sin. Brown's wife Faith also represents belief in Calvinism. When

his passion and love for his wife rage like a fire, his faith rages as well.

Both his faith and love change throughout the story. Faith's pink ribbons

stand for the attractive guarantee of salvation. The red for sin, and the

white for purity. When these ribbons fall to the ground, his faith has

essentially hit rock bottom. Also, the traveler that Brown meets reflects

the devil. In earlier years he walks with both Brown's
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