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The Forces Of Good And Evil In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

Decent Essays
“Young Goodman Brown,” a short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, recounts the tale of a young Puritan man who is transformed by witnessing the bitter truths of humanity. In Goodman Brown’s journey into the woods, he discovers the hidden evils of the individuals that once appeared virtuous to him. Throughout the story, the forces of good and evil are contrasted. In this short story, Hawthorne uses symbolism, the discordance between a character’s appearance and his/her true nature, and contrasting colors to portray the vicious and hypocritical nature of Puritans.
Hawthorne begins symbolism through the setting of Young Goodman Brown. The story was set in Salem Village, best known for the the Salem Witchcraft Trials. Coming from Puritan ancestry, Hawthorne felt hatred towards the religion for the hypocritical nature of some of its followers. He felt disgust at the actions that they committed, predominantly the Trials. During this period of time, many innocent people were murdered due to false accusations of others. It is evident that Hawthorne’s distaste for the religion influenced his work of Young Goodman Brown. In the story, Goodman Brown is told by an old man, “I helped your grandfather, the constable when he lashed the Quaker woman so smartly through the streets.” Brown was astonished that his so-called noble grandfather also indulged in the work of Satan as he persecuted others under the guise of religion. Hawthorne indicates that Brown’s ancestors, similar to his,
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