The Sins Of Beliefs In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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Sometimes it is better to be blissfully ignorant than truly aware of one’s surroundings. This is an idea that is focused on intensely in “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The story revolves around a man named Goodman Brown who takes a walk in the woods with the Devil. During his walk, Goodman Brown discovers that many people whom he believed to be good Christians actually worship the Devil. This knowledge damages his life to an incredible degree. His knowledge of his fellow villagers’ sins ruins Goodman Brown’s life, illustrating that sins do not only affect the sinner himself. The first sins that Goodman Brown becomes aware of in the woods are those of his ancestors. Before his walk in the woods, Brown believes that his family …show more content…
During his trip in the woods, Brown learns that both the minister and Deacon Gookin worship the Devil. While hiding in the trees because of the guilt his sins have brought him, Brown hears the men talking about the Devil’s meeting. While talking to the minister, Gookin says, “I had rather miss an ordination dinner than to-night’s meeting” (5). The deacon’s words shock Brown, since the deacon and the minister should logically be the most faithful people in Salem. Describing Brown’s reaction to his discovery, Hawthorne writes that he was “faint and overburdened with the heavy sickness of his heart” (5). The Deacon’s words severely dishearten Brown and bring him great grief. Brown even starts to doubt whether there really is a heaven, which is in itself a sin. The sins of Salem’s clergy push Brown towards sin and cause him great …show more content…
When he finds himself back in the village, Brown has a difficult time trusting the residents of Salem. His distrust of his peers even interferes with his own spiritual life, although he himself did not go through with the Devil’s ceremony. Describing Brown’s experiences in church, Hawthorne writes, “when the congregation were singing a holy psalm, he could not listen because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear” (9). Brown can not even stand to hear holy songs because of his disenchantment with the congregation. This means that he can not properly practice the religion which was previously so important to him. His problems with prayer also extend to his home life. While praying at home, Brown “scowled and muttered to himself, and gazed sternly at his wife, and turned away” (9). Both Brown’s public and private spiritual life are ruined, as is his relationship with Faith. Brown used to believe Faith to be entirely good, but after his experience in the woods he can not stand to be around her. Faith’s sins, along with the community’s sins, cause Brown’s life to become tense and

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