Theme Of Young Goodman Brown And Everyday Use

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Kohlberg claims that the final stage of morality is achieved during adulthood, but do our morals ever truly stop developing? In “Young Goodman Brown” and “Everyday Use”, this is certainly not the case. The protagonists in these short stories undergo dramatic changes as a result of their ethic altering experiences. Nathaniel Hawthorne and Alice Walker use relatable moral dilemmas to construct complex characters who grow beyond their abstract meanings. The authors of “Everyday Use” and “Young Goodman Brown” both began the construction of successful protagonists by creating characters who are representative of a larger group. In other words, these characters are not specific individuals as much as they are symbolic stand-ins for a broader population. …show more content…
Hawthorne and Walker make their protagonists more real to the reader by having them struggle with moral issues everyday people can encounter. Both characters begin their respective stories with a narrow perspective of the people around them. In “Young Goodman Brown”, Goodman Brown is convinced that everyone around him is morally righteous. When travelling into the forest in which the demonic gathering takes place, Hawthorne writes, “It was all as lonely as could be; and there is this peculiarity in such a solitude, that the traveller knows not who may be concealed by the innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overhead; so that, with lonely footsteps, he may yet be passing through an unseen multitude,” (Kennedy 420). This implies Goodman Brown perceived himself as alone in the forest when in fact, he just could not see the others who were hidden in the trees. Identically, Mama’s perception of her daughters is also quite limited. She tells the reader that she thinks “Dee is lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and a fuller figure,” (Kennedy 456) while her younger daughter, Maggie, “knows she is not bright. Like good looks and money, quickness passed her by,” (Kennedy 457). This distinction emphasizes the favoritism Mama has for Dee and the value she places on beauty and education. Goodman Brown and Mama have surrounded themselves with a lie that they continue to live …show more content…
Both Hawthorne and Walker allow their characters to experience a significant change by the end of their stories. When Goodman Brown sees the gathering in the forest, even his wife, Faith, has joined the sinners. This is significant because the character Faith not only symbolizes a loved one, but also Goodman Brown’s faith in the Puritan religion and the goodness of all people. By associating Faith with the other sinners, Hawthorne is suggesting that Goodman Brown has lost faith in the people around him. This is further supported in the ending of “Young Goodman Brown”, when the protagonist wakes up the following day, “A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man, did he become, from the night of that fearful dream,” (Kennedy 428). Here, the reader is clearly shown that Goodman Brown has changed from a man of good faith to a depressed and cynical

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