Evil, Faith, and Redemption in Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown

1222 Words 5 Pages
CRAM Exclusive
Essay Sample
Evil, Faith, and Redemption in Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown There are many things that go on “behind closed doors” in today’s culture. In many cases it is not closed doors that conceal what goes on, but the dark. Usually what is not seen is not considered good. During the time of early America, there was an event that came to be known as the Salem witch trials. This event has sparked many debates and many folk tales. Nathaniel Hawthorne writes in a way to show the error of modern

middle of document…

After this dreadful night ends, Brown can’t decide if his previous night was a
dream or not. Hawthorne goes on to tell how Goodman Brown believes he finds his
redemption. He states, “…when the family knelt down at prayer, he scowled and
muttered to himself…” (Hawthorne 1095). Hawthorne uses this final passage with a set
of others to show how Goodman Brown found his redemption in reason. He reasons that
everyone is evil, so he must break all communications with the people except his own
family. This is not the path of redemption that the Bible shows, but this it what he
believes to be true. The path that the Bible shows to redemption is to believe that Jesus
died and rose from the grave to conquer the sins of the world. The problem that this
points out in modern culture is a lack of responsibility for sin and that people follow their
own set of rules instead of looking for an absolute truth. This problem is added upon by
other themes in the story.

Evil in modern culture is hidden by the evildoers, much like the town of Salem in
“Young Goodman Brown.” The town of Salem is seen in the woods the night that
Goodman Brown is out going to the witchcraft meeting. Some of Brown’s most respected
townspeople are heard and seen in the woods. Goodman Brown knows what he is doing
is wrong and when he sees the town out there, he knows they are also committing the sin
of witchcraft. Hawthorne even tells that “…a score of the church members of
CRAM Exclusive

Related Documents

  • A Question of Faith in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

    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

    Words: 1315 - Pages: 6
  • A Loss of Faith (Young Goodman Brown) Essay

    considered a place of evil so Brown’s errand in a dense forest suggests that he is up to something bad. Brown’s journey through the forest is on a narrow, dark, and dull path. The darkness and dreariness symbolize the evil that hides in the forest. The narrowness of the path symbolizes that Brown is surrounded by evil. In the forest, Young Goodman Brown meets a companion, an older man who symbolizes the devil. Hawthorne indicates the man bears a striking resemblance to Brown, so much that he is

    Words: 1484 - Pages: 6
  • Symbolism and Irony in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

    minutes ? Goodman's reply is that " Faith kept me back awhile. " (Hawthorne 273). This statement has double meaning because his wife physically kept him back from his appointment and his own faith in God psychologically slowed him.             The atmosphere in which Brown meets his companion is also symbolic. He meets the man soon after he passes a crook in the road, which presumably indicates the paths to heaven or hell. It is evident that Goodman Brown has chosen the latter.            

    Words: 1708 - Pages: 7
  • Essay on Theme in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

    Then evil consumes the hierarchy in the political government and religious organization:   "Wickedness or not," said the traveller with the twisted staff, have a very general acquaintance here in New England. The deacons of many a church have drunk the communion wine with me; the selectmen, of divers towns, make me their chairman; and a majority of the Great and General Court are firm supporters of my interest. The governor and I, too- but these are state-secrets."   Next, evil consumes

    Words: 1686 - Pages: 7
  • Essay on The Allegory in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

    Her presence in the woods on the way to the coven indictes the universal truth that good people are tempted to evil just like the not-so-good types.   The wife of the protagonist is Faith, whose name says explicitly just what her secondary signification is – the theological virtue of Faith. As a virtue, Faith tries to save Godman from his tendency toward a deeper knowledge of evil:   "Dearest heart," whispered she, softly and rather sadly, when her lips were close to his ear, "pr'ythee

    Words: 2025 - Pages: 9
  • Literary Motifs in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay example

    After considerable misgiving regarding the journey, Goodman arrives at the end of the hike in the most remote and isolated part of the forest where he and Faith are to be baptized into the devil-worshipping group and thereby learn the evil secrets hidden in the hearts of everyone:   Herein did the Shape of Evil dip his hand, and prepare to lay the mark of baptism upon their foreheads, that they might be partakers of the mystery of sin, more conscious of the secret guilt of others, both in

    Words: 2458 - Pages: 10
  • Self-rejection and Self-damnation in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

    As Brown interacts with this figure, Hawthorne offers us telling clues to his identity. Though Brown appears to be familiar with the character, neither he nor Hawthorne refers to the subject by name. His staff resembles "a great black snake" or "living serpent." The serpent is a popular image of Satan; he takes the form of a snake to deceive Adam and Eve in Eden. Additionally, Hawthorne later refers to him as "the fiend." Whether his resemblance to Brown is an illusion or a metaphor is moot; he either

    Words: 1314 - Pages: 6
  • Young Goodman Brown Essay

    appears to be the devil. The theme of loss of innocence is understood by the audience due to the fact that it was Mr. Brown’s own decision to leave his wife on a journey to interact with the devil. Another theme that is highlighted in “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne proves to be the theme of fear. Fear is illustrated in the plot from the moment the main character makes his journey into the woods or forest. By using the Reader Response critique the audience picks up on the author

    Words: 961 - Pages: 4
  • Young Goodman Brown: the Downfall of Young Goodman Brown Essay

    his...in the arms of Faith!" This is ironic because at the end of the story, he can not even look Faith in the eye, let alone sleep in her arms. As Goodman Brown is feeling good about his strength in resisting the Devil, he hears the voices of the minister and Deacon Gookin. He overhears their conversation and hears them discuss a "goodly young woman to be taken in to communion" that evening at that night's meeting and fears that it may be his Faith. When Goodman Brown hears this he becomes

    Words: 2452 - Pages: 10
  • Young Goodman Brown Essay

    5. Goodman Brown clings to his wife, Faith, when he questions the goodness of the people around him, he assured himself that if his wife has remained good, then his own faith is worth fighting temptation from what seems to be the Devil. Brown believes that Faith is pure and good. When Brown exclaims “My Faith is gone!” he is trying to say that all that was holy to him (his wife) and that was good was gone because his wife was participating in the devil ceremony. When he sees that Faith has been corrupted

    Words: 1109 - Pages: 5