Between the two readings “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards there are many differences but the two stories still share the same theme. The main theme these stories share is that in a strict society during a narrow-minded time people in hard times tend to fall back with losing their faith and being too weak to withstand giving into self-doubt.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “Young Goodman Brown” the allegory Goodman Brown, a man devoted to his faith in our Father the Lord, after making a hard decision that would follow him for the rest of his life ends up trying to make peace with the fact that he cannot take away the decision but can try to not make the matter worse. When Goodman Brown discovers the “depths of darkness” he is in he begins to have a loss of faith. The line for the story “’My Faith gone!’ cried he, after one stupefied moment. ‘There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil! for to thee as this world given.’” represents the fact that it appears that Goodman Brown lost his faith. That line also shows how he wished for the devil’s worship to come and retrieve him.
Many events led up to him losing his faith and being consumed with self-doubt, but the one that finally pushed Goodman Brown over the edge to call onto the devil was when he could not find his wife Faith. The line “‘But where is Faith?’ thought Goodman Brown; and, as hope came into his heart, he trembled.” shows
Hawthorne symbolized this through Faith, Goodman Brown’s wife, whom he deliberately left behind in order to follow the devil. The stories also expose the sinfulness of the characters, making them unlikable. Eventually, the devil takes the souls of all the characters, including those who acted the most devoutly. For example, Tom Walker “became... all of a sudden, a violent church-goer. He prayed loudly and strenuously as if heaven were to be taken by force of lungs,” (Irving 11). Nevertheless, the devil carries pious Tom away on his great black horse. In “Young Goodman Brown,” all the village’s citizens, including Faith, willingly gather at a worship service for the devil. This ruins Brown’s Christian life because he now thought there was no truth to Christianity. Consequentially, “when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave...they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom,” (Hawthorne 19). Man’s corrupt, sinful nature made it possible for the devil to capture the souls of Tom Walker and Goodman Brown.
Hawthorne in essence, portrayed Goodman as proof of the nature of evil in man by showing how easily even a young dedicated Puritan can easily be influenced by a complete stranger. This stranger was symbolically the Devil among men in this text. Hawthorne begins introducing the Devil immediately as trying to sway Goodman to follow him on a long journey. By leaving his wife, Faith to begin the journey, Goodman Brown was symbolically leaving his faith in God and entering a forsaken ground by following the Devil. The fact that Goodman Brown left with no regard for his wife Faith’s warning, symbolized the lack of regard for his own faith in God and his fellow human race. This simple disregard that Goodman Brown showed was evidence of the easily persuaded ability of man to choose sin over good.
The story “Young Goodman Brown,” in its entirety is an allegory, a literary device used to teach a religious lesson. The reader is lead to wonder if the story’s events truly took place or if it was simply a bad dream. The story leaves readers wondering why Goodman Brown feels compelled to journey into the forest. “Young Goodman Brown” begins with Faith’s plea for Brown to not leave her on that night. He chooses to go out into the woods and ends up taking a “walk with the devil.” On his journey, Brown struggles with his decision and at times wants to turn back. His conscious tugs at him, much like the devil tempts individuals to do things that are wrong and evil. Brown seems to be concerned with what others will think if they see him in the woods. When “Goodman Brown recognized
In the short story “Young Goodman Brown,” a good and proud Puritan man; Goodman Brown, encounters a devil that causes him to become aware of the town he lives in. Goodman Brown believes that a meeting with the Devil cannot change his faith in religion. He desires to find more about his inner domains, but later finds out how hypocritical his town is. He then comes to realization that man is imperfect and defect. Goodman Brown later dies a sore death from the insight of his journey in the forest. In “Young Goodman Brown” Nathaniel Hawthorne uses imagery, symbolism, and allegory throughout the story to question the faith of man. The narrator uses dark and light imagery, people and names to illustrate the irony.
Conflict and symbolism in Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”, Hawthorne in this story portrays these two elements that enhance the way the story is written. The story “Young Goodman Brown” first takes place in a small town with brown and his wife faith. Then in the story brown leaves faith to go in an adventure that he would later wish he hadn’t gone in. Brown takes a journey through part of the woods that are really scary and comes across the devil himself to later find out that faith was evil and that many from his town were also evil and had a secret evil organization or cult. Through the use of conflict and symbolism, Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” portrays what Brown’s journey represents.
Further into Goodman’s journey, he meets an older gentleman, representative of the devil, and Goodman Brown again reveals the ease in which he betrays his faith. When the devil asks why Goodman Brown is fifteen minutes late, he simply states that “Faith kept me back awhile” (343). Although Brown’s wife did keep him back a short while, there is an alternative meaning to this statement. Hawthorne uses this phrase to symbolize that his spiritual faith kept him from making this trip sooner. With this symbolism we see again that perhaps Goodman Brown has had his spiritual doubts for some time, but now he feels ready to question his faith and the faith of those who surround him on this journey.
Young Goodman Brown is a short story where the main purpose is to show the social issue of religion during the Puritan time. Although the author Nathaniel Hawthorne had not being living in that time, he came from a long line of Puritans. He wrote Young Goodman Brown to show the flaws of the Puritans’ view of religion. They made God seem heartless and mean spirited, someone who just used humans for entertainment. The short story Young Goodman Brown demonstrates that people should test their faith of their religious beliefs and even people considered upright can fall short of their own religious faiths from temptations and imperfections. In addition, the story shows that there is some degree of evil nature in everyone because of the freewill
In Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” although the decision to visit the devil was not one Goodman Brown following the crowd, he soon realized he had not been the only one tempted to visit the devil. Actually upon his meeting the devil, he realized that he did not want to continue his journey and wanted to return back home to his wife, Faith, but soon realized many of the townspeople were companions with satan. The themes of “Young Goodman Brown” are that religion or religious actions do not make someone righteous and although we have an appeal to live right, there is a small desire to try the “dark side”. Goodman Brown knew right from wrong growing up in the Puritan community, he also had individuals who would teach him the doctrine of his religion; however just like many people, Goodman Brown had to see what it would be like to travel into the wilderness and visit the devil. While Goodman Brown was on his way he begin to hear familiar voices and see familiar people—those who have taught him the “right” way of living. Of course since the wilderness was no place for a saint to be Goodman Brown would hide so that the others could not view him of being in error of the Christian faith. This is how the theme religion
He goes anyway. This trip will lead to the guilt that Goodman Brown will feel for the rest of his life. Goodman Brown goes into the forest to meet a man which we later find out is the devil. He was late because his wife had kept him in town. "You are late Goodman Brown." (p.383) He replies "Faith kept me back" (p.383), which is ironic because his wife Faith really kept him back that day, but his religious faith also kept him from confronting the devil previously. Goodman Brown follows the man or devil through the forest which leads to an open field. This is presumed to resemble The Garden of Eden. He sees the whole town there including his wife worshiping the devil. On his return to the town, Goodman Brown cannot look at anyone. The life that he knew before this journey was over and would never be the same. He didn't go to church or talk to barely anyone because of his guilt for going to worship the devil. When he died, "there was no hopeful verse upon his tombstone for his dying hour was gloom" (p. 391) This is like the "The Minister's Black Veil" showing that someone must live and breathe everyday knowing of the sin that they have committed.
He was able to at least blindly acknowledge the new side to Goody Close, and the minister and the Deacon, but with the sight of her pink ribbon "after one stupefied moment" Young Goodman Brown cried "my Faith is gone" (190). On the outside he believes his wife too has fallen into the trap of the devil yet on the inside he has lost his own faith. "There is no good on earth come, devil; for to thee is this world given" (190). To Goodman Brown his world is now over and with his faith in the world, in his society gone he succumbs to the evilness of the forest.
The main focus of the story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is the triumph of evil over good. A supposedly good man is tempted by evil and allows himself to be converted into a man of evil. This is much like the situation that arises in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, where two people are tempted to sin and give in thus submitting themselves to the power of the devil. In this novel, the area where the devil resides is strictly parallel to that in “Young Goodman Brown”.
In the readings “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards, have many differences. Even though the allegory and direct address were written in different time frames in American history, there are quite a few similarities. The differences and similarities consisted of religious influences, moral themes, the vengeance of God v. the vengeance of man, and the rolls of the people that either Edwards was preaching to and who Hawthorne was writing his allegory about.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown,” tells the tale of a man whose Puritan beliefs were shaken to the core because reality turned out to be much different than he was taught in catechism. Goodman Brown showed readers how much he believed in his family’s goodness when he claimed “We have been a race of honest men and good Christians… We are a people of prayer, and good works, to boot, and abide no such wickedness” (Hawthorne 247). Because of this, Brown is surprised when he comes to know that people he thought were holy were in fact advocates for the devil and sinners- especially his wife Faith. People that he held in the highest regard were nothing but the lowest of the low to him now. He becomes surly, loses all faith in humanity, and develops a bitter worldview after this revelation.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," Hawthorne introduces Goodman Brown, who doubts himself and reiterates his false confidence to himself repeatedly. His struggle between the evil temptations, the devil, and the proper church abiding life, is a struggle he does not think he can handle. This story is about a man who challenges his faith in himself and in the community in which he resides. Goodman Brown must venture on a journey into the local forest, refuse the temptations of the devil, and return to the village before the sunrise.
The old man uses an everybody is doing it approach to encourage Goodman Brown to attend a ceremony to worship the Devil. The old man shows the people Goodman Brown respected most in his community to degrade his faith. As Goodman Brown loses faith in others, he loses faith in himself. Mckeithan continues to say, “The Minister of Salem Village, Deacon Gookin, Goody Closyse, and Faith were all good in spite of what Goodman Brown eventually came to think of them (96). These are people that were supposedly more spiritually mature than Goodman Brown. He relied on their faith to keep his strong because his faith in God was still new and not fully developed. The psychology of Goodman Brown plays a major rule in his lack of faith because his lack of self esteem allows his desires overcome his reason and morality.