The Puritan Influence in Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The Puritan Influence in Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” (repr. in Thomas R. Arp, and Greg Johnson, Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense, 8th ed. [Fort Worth: Harcourt, 2002] 316) is a short story with strong Puritan influence. Puritanism is a religion demanding strict moral conduct and strong faith. Puritans held that Christians should do only what the Bible commanded. Analyzing “Young Goodman Brown” is dependant upon understanding the Puritan faith. The influence of the Puritan religion is vivid in literary elements such as setting, allegory, and theme. The primary setting of “Young Goodman Brown” is the forest. The Puritans believed that the woods were evil…show more content…
This statement helps show the strong conviction of the Puritans. The other setting of the story is Salem Village. Salem Village is historically most famous for the controversial Salem Witch Trials. The Salem Witch Trials were sparked by the political motives and imaginations of the townspeople. Many Puritans were sentenced to death for suspicion of witchcraft. The Salem Witch Trials also contributed to the taboo feeling of the forest. “Young Goodman Brown” is full of allegorical content relating to the Puritan religion. The names of the characters in “Young Goodman Brown” are the most profound examples of allegory influenced by Puritanism. The protagonist, Goodman Brown, has a name that suggests far more than just a name. “Goodman Brown” for example, is a name that presents the character as a good moralistic man that at all costs resists temptation. Goodman Brown’s wife, Faith, has a name that assists in illustrating the downfall of Goodman Brown. After seeing Faith in the forest, Goodman Brown cries, “My Faith is gone!”(323). His wife, Faith was gone along with his spiritual faith. We first see Goodman Brown as a moral Puritan man, and after loosing his faith he becomes the opposite. “Young Goodman Brown” has a theme of Puritan nature as well. People often dwell on life’s uncertainties so much that they loose the ability to enjoy life. Goodman Brown had a curiosity that made him travel into the wicked
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