Essay on Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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A Psychological Breakdown: A Radically Changed Personality

“Young Goodman Brown” is a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne that describes a night of Goodman Brown in the forest where he walks with the devil and discovers the truth about evil lurking in the human heart. The events of Hawthorne’s story do not have any supernatural cause. The events are the results of human illusion encountered by people having schizophrenic or bipolar hallucinatory episode. In this paper, the radical changes of Young Goodman Brown’s personality due to hallucination is discussed, first, in his paranoid behavior, then his wrong/mis perception of the devil and his staff, in addition, his illusion about the voices and the evil ceremony in the forest and finally,
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"There may be a devilish Indian behind every tree," said Goodman Brown to himself; and he glanced fearfully behind him as he added, "What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow!" (Hawthorne 242)
His fear of evil conceals him at that moment and he starts to think the devil is behind him. He being a ‘puritan’ it is possible for Goodman Brown to fear he is going to lose himself to the devil. Again, there is mention about Goodman Brown’s hallucinating devilish Indians because of his strong xenophobia.
Young Goodman Brown’s perception about the devil and his staff also shows signs of his paranoia. When he enters the forest the devil figure beholds suddenly as if arising from thin air. He had decent clothing. He said he was waiting for Goodman Brown. His sudden appearance frightens Goodman Brown though Brown expected the devil. This proves it is not the first time Goodman Brown is meeting the Devil, who is actually a shadow-self of Goodman Brown. The devil is described as: As nearly as could be discerned, the second traveller was about fifty years old, apparently in the same rank of life as Goodman Brown, and bearing a considerable resemblance to him, though perhaps more in

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