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Critical Analysis of Young Goodman Brown

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Young Goodman Brown Analysis Essay

.Young Goodman Brown” “Be it so if you will; but, alas! It was a dream of evil omen for young Goodman Brown. A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man did he become from the night of that fearful dream. On the Sabbath day, when the congregation was singing a holy psalm, he could not listen because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear and drowned all the blessed strain. When the minister spoke from the pulpit with power and fervid eloquence, and, with his hand on the open Bible, of the sacred truths of our religion, and of saint-like lives and triumphant deaths, and of future bliss or misery unutterable, then did Goodman Brown turn pale, dreading lest the roof should thunder down upon the graqy blasphemer and his hearers. Often, waking suddenly at midnight, he shrank from the bosom of Faith; and at morning or eventide, when the family knelt down at prayer; he scowled and muttered to himself, and gazed sternly at his wife, and turned away. And when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave a hoary corpse, followed by Faith, an aged woman, and children and grandchildren, a goodly procession, besides neighbors not a few, they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom” (Hawthorne 639). “Young Goodman Brown” is a short story by the author.

Young Goodman Brown Critical Essay

. short story “Young Goodman Brown”, by the author Nathaniel Hawthorne demonstrates the evolution of the protagonist Goodman Brown. Throughout the journey of Goodman Brown he suffers and evidently changes his psyche. It is therefore that the story of “Young Goodman Brown” may be criticized in a psychological approach, specifically Freudian criticism. The narrative displays a change in Goodman Brown’s faith, a struggle with his inner demon and his final rejection of social authority. His inner struggles are ironically unidentified as a dream or reality. Goodman Brown’s first implication is his loss of faith throughout his journey in the forest. His wife’s name is Faith forming an immediate connection with religion. At the beginning of the story young Goodman Brown states: “‘my love and my Faith… of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee’” (Hawthorne 190-191). Hawthorne reveals that Brown’s relationship and faith is strong except for this one night. As Brown starts his journey to meet with the devil his faith becomes weaker and weaker. Brown believes that as long as his wife maintains pure he will find it in himself to stay holy. The young man believes: “‘with heaven above, and Faith below.

Essay about Literary Analysis of Young Goodman Brown

.  Literary Analysis of Young Goodman Brown Shamekia Henson South University Literary Analysis of Young Goodman Brown The characters: Goodman Brown, a round and dynamic character, is the main character in this short story. He is dynamic due to the fact that he undergoes a realization of what is happening and has been happening in the world around him. Faith, the wife of Brown, is defined be a flat and static character. She serves as a point of reference for her husband and her position is unchanging. With that being said, Faith serves a dual purpose; not only as his wife but as the term Faith is conveyed within itself. The Old man/ Devil, is established as a round and static character. Without his part this story would not have the same effect. He is the protagonist, and as always he is looking for new followers. Goody Cloyse was the woman dubbed as a witch in the Salem Witch Trials, and she ultimately lost her life during the era of the Puritans. She is considered flat and static because her character remains unchanged, and quite frankly exposes her true self without shame. Deacon Gookin, the town’s teacher of the Lord’s word, is considered flat and static. This stems from the fact that he is merely used as an image to belittle the strength of man for Goodman Brown. The.

Book Analysis: Young Goodman Brown Essay

. Nathaniel Hawthorne “YOUNG GOODMAN BROWN” (1835) Plot Summary At Salem village in one evening, young Goodman Brown left his wife, Faith, to do some quest in the forest alone. During his way, he found an old man who accompanied Brown, persuading him to change his belief. He hesitated. Soon after, when they walked past the good people together with Faith, the old man tricked him accusing them as sinners. Eventually, he lost his belief. After he went back to the village, his attitude towards these people was changed. Pessimistically, he only saw others as sinners. Finally, he spent his life gloomily until the day he died. Arrangement of the Events in the Story * Chronological Order (From sunset to sunrise) Plot Development Exposition At the street of Salem village at sunset, after 3 months marriage, Young Goodman Brown prepared to leave his wife, Faith, to journey into the forest alone even though his wife begged him not to go that time. Rising Action * The Young Goodman Brown entered the forest and met an old man who apparently looked like him by chance. They journeyed together inside the forest. * The old man started persuading the young man to lose faith in his ancestors and the ones whom he trusted and tried to give him a staff encircled with the.

Archetypal Analysis of "Young Goodman Brown" Essay

. point of view, it is evident that all of them do use these symbols. In the short story “Young Goodman Brown”, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, archetypal colors, characters, and garden imagery are evident and help the audience realize the theme, as Hawthorne writes, “’Evil is the nature of mankind’” (636). Archetypal colors are evident throughout the story “Young Goodman Brown.” There are many colors used throughout the story, and some of the important ones are brown, pink, and black. Brown is the most important color in this story. It is obvious that it is important, hence the title, “Young Goodman Brown.” The color brown in this story symbolically represents the spiritual death of Goodman Brown. In the title, the word young symbolically means the person is of innocence. When young is put with the word goodman, it makes sense, but when the word brown is added, it creates a completely ironic name for a man. Brown, meaning spiritual death, cannot be attached to goodman without creating irony. If a person is classified as a goodman, he cannot be spiritually dead. The color pink in this story symbolically represents the corruption of the flesh. Goodman Brown’s.

Young Goodman Brown Analysis Essay

. Young Goodman Brown Analysis The gloom Young Goodman Brown is feeling from the truth he discovers during the night is completely justified. How could it not be after such a traumatic experience? His entire image of the world around him was shattered. The people he new and looked up to, were not what he spent his life believing them to be. There are many passages by Young Goodman Brown that portray these thoughts, feeling, loss of innocence, and changes to his perception in the short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. What immediately stood out to me was the sweet exchange of words Goodman and Faith had, at the train station before his departure. Faith had bad dreams and negative thoughts about Goodman’s trip and does not want him to leave. Goodman replies, “My love and my Faith, of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee.” This line was the best. I have never heard a better way to tell a woman that I can not spend time with her. This line will be used by me at some time in my life. I wonder how much better Goodman’s life would have been if he would have listened to faith. Goodman regarded Faith as his anchor to everything that is right in the world. Faith, with her pink ribbons, is what could right any of the wrongs that might happen to him on his trip.

Essay on Young Goodman Brown Analysis

. Plot: “Young Goodman Brown” tells a tale of a man named Goodman Brown and his journey into a forest one night. That night, he said goodbye to his wife Faith, who begged him not to go and stay with her. He went anyway and met with a man on the road. Goodman Brown and the man conversed on the way, while Brown was trying to convince the man that he is a good Christian and does not want a part in evil, saying that his family and the ones before him were Christians and good people; Brown did not want to be different. The man replied him saying that he knew Brown’s father and grandfather, as well as members of his church and the governor of the state. Brown was surprised by all what the man was saying, but soon found out when he finally reached the destination of his journey, the ceremony where he and a young woman are to be new converts. There, he saw faces of many respected members of the community, the minister, deacon, good Christian men and women and Indian priests. However, Brown does not see Faith and is hopeful that she might not be there. To his disappointment, Brown sees that his wife Faith is the other convert. He then tells Faith to look up to heaven and resist the devil, at this moment, Brown found himself alone in the forest. When Brown returned home to Salem.

Young Goodman Brown: the Downfall of Young Goodman Brown Essay

. Young Goodman Brown: The Downfall of Young Goodman Brown "Young Goodman Brown", by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a story that is thick with allegory. "Young Goodman Brown" is a moral story which is told through the perversion of a religious leader. In "Young Goodman Brown", Goodman Brown is a Puritan minister who lets his excessive pride in himself interfere with his relations with the community after he meets with the devil, and causes him to live the life of an exile in his own community. "Young Goodman Brown" begins when Faith, Brown’s wife, asks him not to go on an "errand". Goodman Brown says to his "love and (my) Faith" that "this one night I must tarry away from thee." When he says his "love" and his "Faith", he is talking to his wife, but he is also talking to his "faith" to God. He is venturing into the woods to meet with the Devil, and by doing so, he leaves his unquestionable faith in God with his wife. He resolves that he will "cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven." This is an example of the excessive pride because he feels that he can sin and meet with the Devil because of this promise that he made to himself. There is a tremendous irony.

Archetypal Analysis of “Young Goodman Brown”

Many authors throughout history do not intend to incorporate archetypal symbols in their stories, but from an archetypal critic’s point of view, it is evident that all of them do use these symbols. In the short story “Young Goodman Brown”, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, archetypal colors, characters, and garden imagery are evident and help the audience realize the theme, as Hawthorne writes, “’Evil is the nature of mankind’” (636). Archetypal colors are evident throughout the story “Young Goodman Brown.

” There are many colors used throughout the story, and some of the important ones are brown, pink, and black. Brown is the most important color in this story. It is obvious that it is important, hence the title, “Young Goodman Brown. ” The color brown in this story symbolically represents the spiritual death of Goodman Brown. In the title, the word young symbolically means the person is of innocence. When young is put with the word goodman, it makes sense, but when the word brown is added, it creates a completely ironic name for a man.

Brown, meaning spiritual death, cannot be attached to goodman without creating irony. If a person is classified as a goodman, he cannot be spiritually dead. The color pink in this story symbolically represents the corruption of the flesh. Goodman Brown’s wife, Faith, has pink ribbons in her hair. This means that the faith of her husband and herself, are corrupt and cannot be changed. As Faith and Goodman Brown are about to be conformed to the ways of Satanism, Goodman Brown says, “’Faith! Faith! […] look up to heaven, and resist the wicked one’” .

Then later in the story, Hawthorne states, “he spied the head of Faith, with the pink ribbons” (636). The audience can infer that Faith did not look up to heaven when Goodman Brown told her to, because if she had done so, the corruption of her faith would have been reversed and her ribbons would have been white. The color black symbolically represents evil and death. The setting of the story mainly takes place at night, which shows the audience that something terrible is to come in the near future. On Goodman Brown’s journey to the evil ceremony, he meets up with an older man. This man symbolically represents Satan.

The elder man shows his evil ways and that he is Satan by saying, “’it was I that brought your father a pitch-pine knot, kindled at my own hearth, to set fire to an Indian village’” (637). This man carried a staff with him, a staff that “bore the likeness of a great black snake” (637) Hawthorne writes. This black, snake-like staff symbolizes the tool he uses to lure people into his trap of worshipping him and shows that he is truly an evil man. Due to the darkness and blackness of the night, Goodman Brown is tricked to believe that the staff “must have been an ocular deception, assisted by the uncertain light” as Hawthorne states.

The color black in this story is used to show the evil nature of all humans, and the darkness behind everyone’s soul. The colors brown, pink, and black are archetypal symbols that enhance the meaning behind this story. Throughout the story, archetypal characters are used to represent something much bigger than what they physically are. Goodman Brown’s wife, Faith, and Goodman Brown himself, are some of the characters that are seen to be used in an allegorical way. Faith not only represents Brown’s wife, but also his religious Faith as a whole.

When Brown reached the meeting point with the older man, the man says, “’you are late, Goodman Brown’” (626), and Brown replies with, “’Faith kept me back a while’” (626). When Goodman Brown says this, he not only means that his wife made him late by talking to him, but his spiritual Faith made him hesitant to finish his journey to the ceremony. This shows that his religious Faith was only strong enough to hold him back for a short period of time, not long enough for him to miss the ceremony. This shows that Brown has weak Faith, and cannot keep himself away from the horrors to come.

Goodman Brown is seen as an archetypal character because he not only represents himself, he represents all mankind. Brown experiences these things, whether a dream or real, to gain a type of knowledge that he will never forget. Brown learns that, “’Evil is the nature of mankind’” (636), as Hawthorne writes, and that boon that he gains will remain with him forever. When Brown gains this knowledge, it not only means that evil is in his nature, but it is in every man’s nature and the only way to keep evil from empowering anyone’s mind, is with strong Faith.

Archetypal characters are used in this story to deepen the meaning and engage the audience to dig deep into the characters and understand what they truly are. Throughout “Young Goodman Brown,” there are several cases where garden imagery is shown. By using garden imagery, Hawthorne directly relates Brown’s trials to that of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Both accounts take place in nature, or the garden, they are tempted by a serpent, gain knowledge, and suffer for them gaining that knowledge.

In “Young Goodman Brown,” Brown leaves the comfort of Salem and travels into nature, where he is tempted by a man with a “staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake” (627), as Hawthorne writes. The man tells Brown, “’Come, Goodman Brown,’ […] ‘Take my staff, if you are so soon weary’” (627). This same thing occurs in the Garden of Eden when Eve is tempted by the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit. After Brown is tempted and falls under the temptation, he gains knowledge that has an effect on every man in the world to come.

He learns that deep inside every man, darkness and evil hide, even in the hearts of the most “righteous” men. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve both gain the knowledge of sin and how they can do things for their own pleasure rather than for the grace of God. After Goodman Brown gains his knowledge, he will suffer. Brown understands that these people, who are thought to be righteous and holy, really are dark and evil people. Every time Goodman Brown hears the minister or Deacon Gookin sing the church hymns or preach their word, he understands the things they are saying have a deep, evil meaning behind them.

Brown cannot stand to have this knowledge and hates knowing that these people, who he himself looked at as holy, are dark, evil people. Adam and Eve also suffered in the Garden of Eden after falling to the temptation of the serpent. When Eve ate from the forbidden fruit, sin came upon them and when they had children, they revolted against each other and eventually led to Cain slaying his brother Abel. Throughout “Young Goodman Brown,” it is evident that it is representing the trials and tribulations that Adam and Eve went through in the Garden of Eden.

Although Nathaniel Hawthorne did not intend to incorporate many of these archetypal symbols, as mythological and archetypal critics, the audience can dig deep into those symbols to understand a deeper meaning to the story. Through the use of archetypal colors, allegorical characters, and garden imagery, the audience can better comprehend what Hawthorne is trying to describe. “’Evil is the nature of mankind’” (636), as Hawthorne writes, is the main theme that is evident to the audience after analyzing this story from an archetypal point of view.

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Young Goodman Brown: Summary, Analysis & Symbolism

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  • 0:01 Overview of Young…
  • 1:02 Plot Summary
  • 3:53 Story Analysis:…
  • 5:14 Story Analysis: Loss…
  • 6:08 Symbolism in the Story
  • 8:20 Lesson Summary

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Sophia has taught college French and composition. She has master’s degrees in French and in creative writing.

Overview of ‘Young Goodman Brown’

Have you ever woken from a nightmare, only to find the heart-pounding terror stayed with you long after the dream was over? Or perhaps you’ve lived through a disappointment, after which the world – and you – felt far less naïve. Imagine the disillusionment of a child who discovers that the Tooth Fairy is really a parent, and now suspects that mom and dad may be hiding even more information. Often as we age, we begin to question the religious beliefs and political worldviews of our families and societies.

Most of us live through these kinds of experiences regularly, and even if they’re painful, we figure out how to move on. Not so for Young Goodman Brown, the title character in an 1835 short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Young Goodman Brown begins with a rosy outlook, with unshakeable faith in himself, his relationship, and his society. But all that changes on one fateful night.

Plot Summary

Young Goodman Brown is setting out from his home in Salem village, saying goodbye to his pretty wife, Faith, who’s wearing her new pink ribbons. He has a little task to attend to that night, but Faith doesn’t want him to go. She’s afraid of the dark and of what might happen to her all alone. Goodman Brown tells her to say her prayers and go to sleep.

As he sets off into the forest, Goodman Brown meets an Old Man, who has an uncanny resemblance to Brown. As it turns out, the Old Man was good friends with Goodman Brown’s father and grandfather. The Old Man intimates that he is the devil and offers to lend Goodman Brown his walking stick, which is carved in the shape of a snake. Goodman Brown insists that he and his forefathers have always been good Christian men.

As they go further into the forest, they come across Goody Cloyse, an old woman known in the village for her piety and good deeds. Goodman Brown hides so she won’t see him, so he can avoid discussing why he is walking through the forest at night with the Old Man. However, she meets up with the Old Man in the forest, where she confirms that the Old Man is indeed the Devil and reveals herself as a witch. She’s on the way to an evil ceremony, where two new converts will be welcomed into a dark cult.

More and more people from the village, including the preacher and the governor’s wife, filter through the woods. Goodman Brown is shocked that so many seemingly upright citizens secretly practice devil worship. Grappling with this information, Goodman Brown looks up to see a pink ribbon float down from a branch. Crying, ‘My Faith is gone!’, he realizes that even his beloved wife has gone to the dark side.

In a clearing, a large crowd has gathered around a bonfire. They chant twisted versions of hymns and make ready to welcome the two new converts. A veiled woman is led to the fire, where she stands next to Goodman Brown. It’s Faith. The two stare into each other’s eyes as a dark figure says they have been initiated into the truth of evil: from now on, they will see the darkness lurking underneath everything. Desperate, Goodman Brown screams to Faith to look to Heaven and resist temptation.

Suddenly, Goodman Brown finds himself alone in the forest. It’s morning. Had the whole thing been a wretched dream? He staggers back to the village, where he’s disgusted by the sight of the preacher preparing his sermon and Goody Cloyse teaching a little girl her prayers. Arriving home, he refuses to speak to Faith, who is again wearing her pink ribbons. He lives out the rest of his life in suspicion and despair and dies a lonely, bitter old man.

Story Analysis: Critique of Puritan Society

Like so many of Hawthorne’s short stories and novels, ‘Young Goodman Brown’ takes place in Puritan New England, specifically in Salem, Massachusetts. You’re probably already aware of Salem’s grisly history as home of the infamous Witch Trials, during which dozens of women and men were accused of witchcraft, and many were executed. One of Hawthorne’s ancestors was actually involved in the trials and sentenced several women to death. Some scholars have suggested that this family legacy may have been what sparked Hawthorne’s interest in writing about – and criticizing – Puritan society.

At the beginning of the story, the Old Man reveals that he was present during two major events from Goodman Brown’s family history: when Goodman Brown’s grandfather whipped a Quaker woman in the streets of Salem, and when Goodman Brown’s father burned an Indian village during King Philip’s War.

Hawthorne drew these details from the actual history of Salem village. Founded by Puritans seeking religious tolerance, Salem quickly became a repressive society where those who did not follow sanctioned behavior were violently punished. The Quakers, the American Indians, and those convicted of witchcraft were among those brutally treated by the Puritans, and Hawthorne’s story suggests that underneath Salem village’s pious exterior, hypocrisy and intolerance prevail.

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Story Analysis: Loss of Innocence and Faith

Ultimately, it isn’t clear whether Young Goodman Brown’s nighttime adventure in the forest was a dream or a real event. Nevertheless, it effectively destroys Brown’s belief in the goodness of human nature. He’s now all too aware of the potential for hypocrisy contained in every member of the village. No matter how people appear in daylight, at night their darker, untamed urges may be set loose.

However much he grapples to retain his religious belief, he must also confront his own temptation to do evil, and once he sees the truth about himself, he can never be the same. Religion, society, and even his own once-beloved wife are now suspicious, and he rejects them all for fear that they are not what they seem. Goodman Brown’s journey into the forest and his confrontation with evil represents his tragic loss of innocence and of faith.

Symbolism in the Story

When we read ‘Young Goodman Brown’, we want to think symbols, symbols, and more symbols. Pretty much everything in the story is loaded with symbolic meaning, starting with the names of the major characters.

You’ve already noticed, of course, that Young Goodman Brown’s name is a bit ironic – as the story progresses, he struggles to hold fast to his belief in the goodness of himself, his wife, society, and human nature.

His, wife, too, has a symbolic name: Faith represents all that is pure, sweet, religious, and domestic, and Goodman’s terrible cry, ‘My Faith is gone!’ works on two levels: the literal loss of his wife and the symbolic loss of his spiritual belief.

The forest is a symbol of the unknown. As Goodman Brown leaves behind the security of Salem village, he must venture into the untamed wilderness, where he fears that a devil may be lurking behind any tree. The forest represents the uncivilized, darker impulses in human nature. As he struggles to hold onto his belief, Goodman Brown must confront the evil that lies buried within him and every other member of the village.

Day and night also figure importantly in the story. The evil of mankind is revealed during the darkness, and when Goodman Brown finally returns to the village, the light of day reveals the hypocrisy of the villagers who may not be as pious as they pretend to be.

Physical objects also serve as symbols in ‘Young Goodman Brown.’ The Old Man in the forest brandishes a snake-shaped staff. The snake has long been associated with evil; for example, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, it was a serpent who tempted Eve to disobey God, leading to humans’ expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The twining, serpentine staff, therefore, strongly suggests to us that this old man is in fact the devil.

The staff also reminds us of the broomsticks witches are supposed to ride on, as seen when Goody Cloyse borrows the staff to fly to the meeting.

Faith’s pink ribbons are a symbol of purity and innocence. When Goodman Brown finds them abandoned in the forest, the reader begins to suspect Faith’s innocence has been lost.

Lesson Summary

‘Young Goodman Brown’ is a short story that packs a heavy symbolic punch. As he journeys into the wilderness of human evil, Young Goodman Brown learns that people are not always what they seem. Returning to Salem Village, he must live with his new knowledge that religion and society mask darker impulses.

Learning Outcomes

After you have finished, you should be able to:

  • Summarize the plot and storyline of ‘Young Goodman Brown’
  • Explain how and why Hawthorne pokes at Puritan society in his story
  • Describe the loss of faith and innocence that Goodman Brown experiences
  • Identify some of the symbolism found in ‘Young Goodman Brown’

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