Young Goodman Brown Literary Analysis

Decent Essays

Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne explores one man’s journey into realization and misery. Where the short story takes place creates a new layer to what would have been a simple walk through the New England woods, and turns it into a narrative on the corrupt lives of mankind, both wicked and pious. The settings details contribute to the mood of existential confusion, harsh realizations, and the insensitivity of humankind to evil. Much of Nathaniel Hawthorne's motives for writing come from his Puritan ancestors. The puritans were overzealously religious and judgmental people who were ultimately to blame for deaths during the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s. Hawthorne saw the corruptness of these people, their willingness to ostracize, blame, and persecute. The puritans were corrupted in reality by the imbalance of freedom and justice they gained upon entering the new world. In this literary—more dramatic—story, the settlers of New England were spiritually ravaged by the devil himself and his free reign of the expansive, western wilderness. Hawthorne includes allegories to all elements in the human entanglement in religion and evil, writing singularly one person when it really means all represented. Young Goodman Brown, now a fair way into his path through the dark wilderness, spots villager and recognized devout Christian, Goody Cloyse. He remarks, “‘A marvel, truly, that Goody Cloyse should be so far in the wilderness at nightfall’...’But with your

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