Departing from the ways of the pious and arranging an interview with the Devil lends glamour to his quest. Hawthorne creates a stark contrast between the seemingly perfect young newlyweds and their sinister setting, Salem at nightfall.
He often woke up at midnight and shrank from Faith. The devil encourages Goodman Brown to doubt the most profound and sacred relationships, and especially family relationships: He lifts his hands to pray.
Active Themes The figure tells them to look at the congregation, and describes the hypocritical piety of all the people assembled there, whom Goodman Brown and the veiled woman have looked up to. Giving in to a mindless, emotional indulgence, he is later checked by the awesome finality of the Black Mass and acknowledges his insufficiency; then, for the first and only time in the story, he calls on God for assistance.
He himself is ashamed to be seen walking in the forest and hides when Goody Cloyse, the minister, and Deacon Gookin pass. This is important, because it means that he measures his own goodness against the goodness of his community, not against an absolute sense of right and wrong; he wants to do good in order to fit into his community, not in order to be moral or devout.
Of course, one can also recognize that Good Cloyse also only lets down her appearance of goodness when she is in the forest; after all, Goodman Brown thought her unimpeachably good for all these years.
However, if he has, what can be made of his life thereafter?
Active Themes As the two of them walk through the deep forest in the darkening dusk, the narrator describes the man as ordinary and simply dressed, and considerably older than Goodman Brown.
Goodman Brown is never certain whether the evil events of the night are real, but it does not matter. In this profoundly ambiguous story, Brown wavers between the desperate cynicism of the corrupt soul and the hopefulness of the believer.
The Fear of the Wilderness From the moment he steps into the forest, Goodman Brown voices his fear of the wilderness, seeing the forest as a place where no good is possible.
If the ability to resist the Devil at his own table is victory, he has triumphed; if he has made the effort at the expense of his capability for human trust, he has met spiritual defeat.
The other voices seem to be encouraging Faith onward. Goodman Brown refuses and begins to make his case for turning back toward home: For Brown, who is walking into the forest expressly out of a sinful curiosity, the forest seems to hide sin everywhere.
The man casually makes reference to having been in Boston fifteen minutes before. Unworried, the devil leaves Goodman Brown the maple staff to use if he decides to continue on his own. The figure promises to tell them all the dark secrets of their town: Ironically, he cannot relieve his new mistrust of Faith and the other Puritans by questioning or accusing them, because to do so would be to admit to having seen them in the forest and to his own temptation by the devil: At this point, though, Goodman Brown still believes that the community at large is so anti-sin because it is holy.
Guilt and paranoia are key emotions in the story. The man bursts into violent laughter, and his staff seems to wiggle along. He became afraid and distrustful of everyone around him. Active Themes Faith pleads with Goodman Brown not to leave her alone all night and instead to set out on his journey at sunrise.
He looks back one last time and sees Faith watching him sadly despite the pink ribbons on her cap. He seems to think he can just dip a toe into sin and then draw back, no harm done.
Goodman Brown is surprised to see her in the woods so late at night.
The old habits of mind had been challenged, but they were not dead. Goodman Brown recognizes the woman beside him as Faith. He exudes the confidence of a person who expects to retain control of the situation and pull back if he so decides. The narrator describes them as husband and wife trembling before the altar.
Goodman Brown sits for a moment, happy not to have to return to town and face the minister and Deacon Gookin with a guilty conscience, and happy to be able to sleep well when he gets home.
He feels guilty for being in the forest and so hides behind the trees again. But when the minister tries to bless him, Goodman Brown shrinks away. Though Goodman Brown resisted the devil and avoided being baptized as a sinner, he lost his faith and his innocent trust in his Puritan community.
He begins to doubt if there is a heaven, but he looks up at the starry sky and vows that he will still resist the devil. Even so, he walks on until he encounters a mysterious man at a bend in the road.
He sees the minister taking a walk by the graveyard before breakfast.Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Home / Literature / Young Goodman Brown / Analysis ; For the most part, Hawthorne's narrator follows around young Goodman Brown. But pay attention to that "for the most part," because here are some fascinating exceptions.
At one point, the narrator. Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'Young Goodman Brown' is a short story that's rich in meaning. In this lesson, we'll go over the plot points, themes, characters, and symbols. Overview of 'Young Goodman Brown'. A summary of Themes in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown.
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LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Young Goodman Brown, which you can use to track the themes. "Young Goodman Brown" is a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne that was first Here's where you'll find analysis of the story as a whole. Further Study. Test your knowledge of "Young Goodman Brown" with our quizzes and study questions, or go further with essays on the context and background and links to the best resources around the web.
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