Young Goodman Brown: Characters

4483 WordsFeb 5, 201318 Pages
Young Goodman Brown: Characters Introduction “Young Goodman Brown” is a short story by the American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. The story made its first appearance in the New England Magazine for April 1835 and was collected in Mosses from an Old Manse in 1846. The story is set in the Puritan New England, a common setting for Hawthorne's works, and like most of the stories in Mosses, “Young Goodman Brown” examines Hawthorne’s favorite themes: the loss of religious faith, presence of temptation, and social ills of Puritan communities. These themes, along with the story’s dark, surreal ending, make “Young Goodman Brown” one of the Hawthorne’s most popular short stories. In order to understand “Young Goodman Brown” we must, like the…show more content…
Young Goodman Brown could also be compared to the first man, Adam, who was tempted by the devil to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge, and in this story we have Brown going into the whole forest, facing the whole forest. Like Adam in the book of Genesis, Goodman cannot help himself from wanting to know what lies behind the mystery of the forest. And like Eve, he is rewarded for his curiosity with the truth that changes his life for the worse. In the course of the ceremony, the Devil tells Brown and Faith that their eyes will now be opened to the wickedness of themselves and those around them. Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden, and forced to undergo all the trials of being mortal, human, and Goodman Brown returns from the forest to find that the joy of life has been taken away from him. He has become suspicious of those around him, even the person closest to him, his wife Faith. From this we can see that “Young Goodman Brown” also functions as an allegory of the fall of a man, which is also one of the themes of this story. At the very beginning of the narrative, before setting out on his journey, Goodman Brown appears to be a very confident young man for he is innocent and inexperienced. Upon his return we are given the picture of a very changed man.
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