Themes In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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“Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a short story that takes place in the 1690s, immediately before the infamous Salem witch trials. The story is a detailed account of the protagonist Goodman Brown’s journey through the forest, in which he experiences evil and sin of those he admired in his town of Salem. The main character experiences internal conflicts in respect to his attitude and religion. In analyzing Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” the vital themes, character progression, and settings filled with imagery, all provides a depth understanding of the protagonist’s outlook throughout the story, and the reason for his radical change.
There are two main theme’s depicted in “Young Man Brown,” the inevitable erosion of
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There are two settings: the town of Salem, which blatantly represents good, and the woods, which represents evil. Salem is comprised of exemplary devoted puritans, including his family and kindhearted pure wife, Faith. "I marvel they never spoke of these matters. Or, verily, I marvel not, seeing that the least rumor of the sort would have driven them from New England. We are a people of prayer, and good works to boot, and abide no such wickedness" (Hawthorne). The traveller Goodman Brown pursued the path tried to sway his faith by telling of his grandfather’s wrongdoings, which he states that a good Christian, such as everyone in Salem, does not partake in such wickedness. The protagonist 's view of the village and his home are mostly correlated with positive imagery in the beginning of the story, which makes the woods an exact contrast to what makes him feel safe. The woods in story-telling often is represented as the mysterious, eerie, and darkness. “The road grew wilder and drearier, and more faintly traced, and vanished at length, leaving him in the heart of the dark wilderness, still rushing onward, with the instinct that guides mortal man to evil. The whole forest was peopled with frightful sounds; the creaking of the trees, the howling of wild beasts, and the yell of Indians” (Hawthorne). This imagery depicts how the forest is a crooked place. It showed the true nature of the townsfolk, He …show more content…
Goodman Brown in the short story “Young Goodman Brown” is the protagonist and the heart of the story. The character goes through a major change throughout the story. In the beginning he stays true to his faith and goes against evil. “The young man sat a few moments by the road-side, applauding himself greatly … And what calm sleep would be his, that very night, which was to have been spent so wickedly, but purely and sweetly now, in the arms of Faith!” (Hawthorne). He chose to not follow the evil traveller and instead return to his loving wife. The character does not learn the truth until afterwards, where his faith gets shaken and he begins to get corruptible. He participates in the witches’ Sabbath, and wakes up the next morning with no trust in his heart. “A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man, did he become, from the night of that fearful dream” (Hawthorne). After learning there is sin and evil in every man, he never recovers. His loss of innocence is filled with void and melancholy. He believed the town of Salem was built on pure Puritan faith, but in reality the most devoted Christians can still be overthrown by

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