Good And Evil In Young Goodman Brown

Superior Essays
Good stories leave room for interpretation within their woven plots and characters; Good writers allow for these interpretations flourish and reveal themselves to the audience. Just like in our own lives, stories aren’t always so cut and dry. There are ideas and situations that are both morally and factually gray, things we aren’t so sure about one way or the other. One particular author who hones in on looking at the lines between good and evil is Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne uses very lengthy descriptions of drab and gloomy imagery as he dissects ideas such as guilt, sin, and morality within his works. In his story, “Young Goodman Brown”, Hawthorne compels his readers to question their own morality and standing by having them follow the …show more content…
She pleads with him, begging him to stay with her, but he insists that he must go out that night. “And Faith, as the wife was aptly named thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap.” (Hawthorne 420) His very own “Faith” is urging him to stay true to his ways. “Pray thee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed to-night… Pray, tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year! “(Hawthorne 420) And yet despite these worries from Faith, he continues on with his journey, leaving Faith and his home behind, into the foreboding forest to indulge in his curiosities toward sin and evil, the very same things his religious views and fellow neighbors are stricken …show more content…
Whatever the answer is, it has profoundly changed the life of Young Goodman Brown. His beliefs, his outlook toward his neighbors and even his own wife, changed forever. How can we as the reader find which of the two is real, even when our own main character cannot? Hawthorne states in a letter to his wife, “Is truth a fantasy which we are to pursue forever and never grasp?” (Hawthorne 429) The thing Hawthorne wants to get through to his audience is not a concrete answer, it is having that hazy line drawn between reality and fantasy, good and evil, fact or fiction. Having that sense of uncertainty is what makes a story truly come alive in Hawthorne’s eyes. In another letter to editor Evert A. Duyckinkck, “The greatest possible merit of style is, of course, to make the mere words absolutely disappear into the thought.” He wants us to be able to question our own morals and principles within our lives, getting something much more valuable than simple words on a

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Tell Tale Identity Essay

    • 785 Words
    • 4 Pages

    One of the main questions that we are faced as readers when reading this text is whether the narrator is insane or not? Upon first reading we note that yes his speech and actions are strange but when we then look further into the text and the way Poe portrays this narration then we begin to see the finer cracks appear in the narrators persona. Self-narration is a literary device often employed by Poe when writing his short stories, allowing him creative freedom whilst also being able to write from a perspective that can directly relate to the audience if readers. Throughout the text the narrator is constantly trying to convince both themselves and the reader of their sanity and the justification of their own actions against the old man. Throughout the novel the narrator is constantly reminding us that they are not insane however due to the nature of Poe’s writing and authorship we can straight away tell that this is not the case “You fancy me mad.…

    • 785 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Their narration styles are significantly different, as well as the overall goodness of their main characters. These authors both discuss and write of issues that are present throughout common life, such as theft, anger, revenge, and unknowingness. Both Hawthorne and Poe are famous artists that are very talented, and it interesting on how they perceive the world differently and explain their own views to the audiences of their…

    • 748 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    My Major Work is a short story that examines how the subjectivity of human perception and memory can distort the way individuals perceive events and articulate responses. My work is a creative portrayal of the concept of truth, particularly centred around the discrepancies between individual interpretations and responses to the same situation. Whilst this concept has only recently been established and is still developing, I believe that it achieves the fundamental purpose I had initially envisioned; to inform and provoke my audience. Through this concept, I intend to inform audiences about the complexities of human interpretations and responses, but I also aim to provoke my audience by questioning the concept of truth. I intend for my work to appeal to an intellectual, adult audience.…

    • 1159 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Franz Kafka’s diction constantly reinforces the tone and mood of the novel as despondent. “Admittedly, the petition meant an almost endless task […] it might provide a suitable occupation for a mind turned childish.” (pg. 210) The choice of words in the preceding passage demonstrates the irony of Kafka’s writing, because the difference between what the reader knows, what the narrator knows and what Joseph K. knows allows us to crudely laugh but at something much different than Joseph K. would expect us to laugh at. G. Passage…

    • 1673 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    But all the lines in this story are completely intentional and work to prove a point of his. When he leaves you questioning what in the book is real and what isn 't, he is teaching you all about the concept of “truth”. He explains the difference between “story-truth” and “happening-truth”, how truths are contradictory, and that they are based on perspective. All these explanations help prove his lesson that truth is arbitrary. His ideas are further supported by many other texts including Do Not Weep, Maiden, For War is Kind by Stephen Crane.…

    • 1065 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Then he speaks of how everything a true yet he deceives us through lies and deceives us through the harshness of the truth by hiding it. Tim O’Brien writes his stories with his characters having a certain complexity to them. But this is all basically a biography, isn’t it? With the truth and lies stretched and condensed to bring readers and to provide a backdrop of mental illness within. The best thing about O’Brien’s writing strategy is that when he pulls through an emotional string, he does so with a deep and reflective way of thinking that implements the lessons and experiences throughout his life.…

    • 1549 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Good and Evil in the World of “Young Goodman Brown” It goes without saying that a good work of literature, especially a short story, often comes together with one or more conflicts. Undoubtedly, conflict is the key element which heightens tension, reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the characters, as well as boosts the readers’ interest to continue reading. As a result, it tends to vary in types and intensity. A conflict can be merely an inner one which occurs inside the mind of the protagonist. On the other hand, a character may also find himself or herself in an external conflict with outside forces in the story such as society, nature, technology.…

    • 1373 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    For the many instances where New Criticisms proves its impracticality and uselessness, Psychological Criticism inversely thrives when applied to Brave New World. The reason Psychological Criticism works so well is because of the way the story emerges the reader into perspectives and experiences from numerous characters. Each of these characters is a piece, cut from a literary template that can be dissected in order to gain a psychological understanding for Aldous Husley’s life experiences. By analyzing the way different characters react to the same situation the reader gains a better comprehension for their personalities. A profound moment in the development of both Bernard Marx and Lenina Crowne is illustrated in a scene where they are…

    • 1127 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    When in the wood, Lysander tells Hermia, he has forgotten the path his aunt’s house and says they should sleep until it is morning, so that they can find their way “Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood. And to speak troth, I have forgot our way. We’ll rest us, Hermia, if you think it's good. And tarry for the comfort of the day.”(Shakespeare 11). Lysander wishes to slip next to Hermia and hopes to get lucky, but Hermia insists that they should sleep apart and respect the custom and propriety “Be it so, Lysanderell.…

    • 1215 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Poe’s usage of literacy devices such as symbolism and point of view bring the story to life enhancing the madness the narrator portrays along with the dramatic effects. Throughout the story, the narrator is concisely claiming that he is not a madman, but that many perceive him to be. “Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded-with what caution…” (p.92).…

    • 1490 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays