“Young Goodman Brown” is a tale of a man’s battle with his faith. It is one of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s most complexing tales. Many unanswered questions arise as you read it. One of the most obvious questions is if these events are actually happening as reality, or if they are all a dream. I don’t believe that it really matters. The essay’s events still have the same impact on Brown’s life whether they took place, or were just a twisted nightmare. Richard Fogle in his essay “Ambiguity and Clarity in Hawthorne’s ‘Young Goodman Brown’” also notes the insignificance of the dream! “At any rate the effect on Goodman Brown is instantaneous and devastating” (210). “Young Goodman Brown” is an allegory about a man who has lost his faith due to the
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Brown can’t even comprehend these accusations and openly states his feelings, “We are a people of prayer, and good works to boot, and abide no such wickedness” (326). The devil convinces Brown to proceed further down the trail where they come across an older woman. The woman just happened to be Goody Cloyse, an upstanding teacher and Christian whom Brown had modeled his faith after since he was a young boy. She willingly converses with the devil and is perceived to be a witch. This devilish enlightenment was a devastating blow to Brown’s faith. He begins to question if he is truly a faithful man. He begins to ponder the question that if his teachings came from evil men and women, then everything he believes in may be a devilish lie. Richard Fogle plainly states this in his essay as well, “In the process he progressively undermines the young man’s faith in the institutions and the men whom he has heretofore revered” (209). Brown still maintains his composure and pushes onward because of his unscathed faith in the church.
Brown’s faith has taken a huge hit. It has begun to weaken and falter due to his loss of faith in his father and Goody Cloyse, but he still has high hopes in the strengths of the church. He doesn’t believe that Satan has corrupted his sacred church. Brown decides that he wants to end his journey with the devil because he feels that it will make him appear more Christian. He