Historical Prejudice In Young Goodman Brown

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Several short stories can be misjudged or misinterpreted when prior knowledge of the story’s historical background is not entirely understood. Without having familiarity with the historical context of some stories, it can be challenging for the reader to appreciate the story at its full capacity. For example, William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” was written during one of the most problematic periods the United States has ever faced. While just reading it from an uninformed point of view, one may see it as a simple short story about a woman with issues about letting go of her past. However, it gestures to broader analogies that tie into the historical successes of the Great Depression and the Civil War Reconstruction Era. In the early 19th …show more content…
Nathaniel Hawthorne demonstrates another key example of historical knowledge being significant in literature in “Young Goodman Brown”. Understanding the history of Salem, Massachusetts and its infamous witch trials during the 17th century is exceedingly beneficial for accurately grasping the context of this story. Several of the circumstances that Hawthorne exploits in “Young Goodman Brown” can be difficult for the reader to grasp if he or she does not recognize the historical background of the story. Pinpointing and comprehending the historical context of these two short stories is greatly essential in completely distinguishing the plot, connecting with the characters, identifying key themes, and appreciating these remarkable works of literature.
To begin, “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner takes place in the old South; a time when men systematized and controlled all aspects of civilized living, including the actions of women. It was published in 1930 amidst the devastating effects of the Great Depression. Assuming that Miss Emily was around 70 years old at the time that this short story was published; she was probably born either during or after the American Civil War. Miss Emily Grierson, the protagonist of the short story,
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By recognizing and comprehending the historical background of 17th century Salem, Massachusetts, understanding the fundamental plot of the story becomes much easier. This short story focuses around three dark events from the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The Salem Witch Trials occurred in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft—the “Devil 's magic”—and 20 were executed (Smithsonian). Numerous pious Christians held confidence in the idea that the Devil would give specific people, particularly young girls, the ability to cause mischief to the world if they would remain loyal to his sinful actions. Society would refer to these specific people as “witches” and by seventeenth century Puritan, New England; witchcraft became a common conspiracy to be accused upon local people. These historical occasions are not the primary topic of “Young Goodman Brown,” which actually takes place after they occur; however, they do inform the actions of witch-hunting. For instance, Hawthorne adopts the names of Martha Carrier and Goody Cloyse, two of the “witches” executed in Salem, for residents in his story. Knowing that many people were fearful of being suspected of witchcraft is an imperative element to keep in mind when reading this story. An

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