Analysis Of John Gardner 's ' Young Goodman Brown ' Essay

1385 Words Mar 7th, 2016 6 Pages
Hero versus villain, light against dark, moral contradicting immoral—these variations of the battle between good bad are commonly used in a large number of stories. Most often the hero displays model behavior while the villain’s behavior is not to be duplicated. In his book On Moral Fiction, John Gardner said that a well written story “present[s] valid models for imitation.” One short story in particular, “Young Goodman Brown” written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is no stranger this element, but it also contains invalid behavior models. In “Young Goodman Brown”, Goodman Brown, just married to his wife Faith, leaves one night to set out on a journey with a dark Traveler. Brown’s heart begins to turn away from good when he hides the true reason he must leave Faith, his innocent wife. Brown shows up late to edge of the forest where he agreed to meet the Traveler, an old soul with magical powers, and blames his tardiness on his wife. The Traveler excuses him and leads Brown into the forest to attend what seems to be a ritual of the devil. However, Brown resists going through with his agreement to follow the Traveler, as the evil ahead is against his family’s Christian beliefs. Goodman Brown also fears that Faith’s heart would be broken were he ever to join the evil that she had dreamt about. The Traveler eventually allows Brown to leave at his own will and Goodman Brown appears to fall asleep in the forest. Yet it is unclear whether the events that follow are a dream or reality and…

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