Essay on Young Goodman Brown

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     The main focus of the story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is the triumph of evil over good. A supposedly good man is tempted by evil and allows himself to be converted into a man of evil. This is much like the situation that arises in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, where two people are tempted to sin and give in thus submitting themselves to the power of the devil. In this novel, the area where the devil resides is strictly parallel to that in “Young Goodman Brown”.

     As Goodman Brown sets off on his walk into the forest, he believes that there is more good within his community than evil, and that he himself is a good man. He
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Goodman Brown then says that these people’s ways have no attachment to him and therefore he is not capable of their sinful doings. This urges his companion into uncontrollable laughter, for he knows that Goodman Brown is as much a sinner as the rest of them although he has yet to realize this. Meeting Goody Cloyse in the forest shows that Goodman Brown has been evil all of his life, for she is a witch, and he says that the old lady taught him his catechism.


     Goodman Brown is tempted by his fellow traveler, who is most definitely an advocate of the devil, or the devil in another form, to come deeper into the forest, but he refuses. Goodman Brown now sits and ponders whether or not to turn back. He hears the voices of the town’s deacon and minister, and they talk of he communion they will be attending. Upon hearing this, Goodman Brown cries out that he will stand strong against the devil. He then hears the confused sound of voices of the towns-people. This is the devil firmly urging Goodman Brown to give in to the evil force. Now the desperate man hears the scream of a woman and sees his wife’s pink hair ribbon in a tree and he is paralyzed by the effects of this. Crying out “My Faith is gone, there is no good on earth: and sin is but a name” he instantly sells himself to the devil.

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