The Themes in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

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The Themes in “Young Goodman Brown”

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” the reader finds several themes. These will be discussed in this essay.

Morse Peckham in “The Development of Hawthorne’s Romanticism” explains what he interprets Hawthorne’s main theme to be:

Once the self has been redeemed from society it can be explored in its own terms, and for this purpose Hawthorne developed his peculiar use of emblematic allegory. . . . This technique, though Hawthorne’s is different from that of European writers, creates analogies between self and not-self, between personality and the worlds. . . .Henceforth Hawthorne’s theme is the redemption of the self through the acceptance and exploitation
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The humor in “Young Goodman Brown” is not so apparent to this reader as is the love; I refer to the deep love which Goodman has for his wife, Faith. When he says goodbye and starts down the street, headed for the forest, the protagonist really feels a deep consideration for Faith’s feelings:

"Poor little Faith!" thought he, for his heart smote him. "What a wretch am I, to leave her on such an errand! She talks of dreams, too. Methought, as she spoke, there was trouble in her face, as if a dream had warned her what work is to be done tonight. But, no, no! 'twould kill her to think it. Well; she's a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night, I'll cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven."

This love of Brown’s continues throughout the tale. Enroute along the path with the sinister fellow-traveler, Goodman repeatedly recalls his feelings for his wife:

"Well, then, to end the matter at once," said Goodman Brown, considerably nettled, "there is my wife, Faith. It would break her dear little heart; and I'd rather break my own!"

"Friend," said he, stubbornly, "my mind is made up. Not another step will I budge on this errand. What if a wretched old woman do choose to go to the devil, when I thought she was going to Heaven! Is that any reason why I should quit my dear

Faith, and go after her?"

"Faith!" shouted Goodman Brown, in a voice of agony and desperation; and the echoes of the
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