Essay on Women in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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“Young Goodman Brown” and Women What are the attitudes of the young Puritan husband Goodman Brown toward women, of the author toward women, of other characters in the story toward women? This essay intends to answer that question. Randall Stewart in “Hawthorne’s Female Characters” states that there are three types of female characters in Hawthorne’s writings: (1) “the wholesome New England girl, bright, sensible and self-reliant;” (2) “the frail, sylph-like creature, easily swayed by a stronger personality;” and (3) “the woman with an exotic richness in her nature” (98), and that “Young Goodman Brown” has in Faith “cheerfulness, prettiness, and a simple-minded domesticity” (99). So this categorizes her under type…show more content…
Leavis says in “Hawthorne as Poet” that “It is a journey he takes under compulsion, and it should not escape us that she tries to stop him because she is under a similar compulsion to go on a ‘journey’ herself” (36). So the main male and female characters are manifesting similar (equal?) characteristics. But thinking only of himself, Goodman abandoned Faith to an evening of loneliness at home, or so it initially seemed. Alas, they had been married but three months when he rejected her thus. After a rather hostile accusation of distrust by Brown, Faith wished him well, “May God bless you!” And he, feeling perhaps that he had been a bit harsh, tried to assuage her fears of spending the night alone by reassuring her, “Say thy prayers, dear Faith, and go to bed at dusk, and no harm will come to thee.” Then he left her alone. When he had gone as far as the meeting-house, he looked back and saw that she was still looking after him – with a melancholy air. He chided himself, “What a wretch am I to leave her on such an errand!” Yet he, in his prioritizing, gave her a back seat to his wishes and continued on his way. When into the dense forest, he met the “grave” man who berated him lightly for his tardiness; Goodman defended himself by blaming it on his wife, “Faith kept me back awhile.” There was no pause to reflect on the uprightness of his actions; he quite naturally and unhesitatingly blamed Faith for something for which she was most
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