Young Goodman Brown

Society has thrived to please a greater force since man first roamed the planet. People have tried to appease the unknown through rituals, responsibilities, and worship, whether they were polytheists or monotheists, Catholics or Lutherans. Following that, agnosticism and atheism emerged, and these movements grew in popularity as people began to challenge religions and their harsh laws. Many artists, filmmakers, and novelists today express their critique in their works. Nathaniel Hawthorne, for example, wrote the short story “Young Goodman Brown,” which uses satire to communicate a message of critique.

The inherent hypocrisy and fallibility of American religion are illustrated throughout the story of ‘Young Goodman Brown’ and the main character ‘Goodman Brown’ is portrayed as expressed an allegory of the ‘fall of man’. Hawthorne, in his story, vividly expressed the expense of curiosity of man and how certain knowledge about certain things changes one’s life for the worse.

In the following section, I will briefly introduce you to the plot of the short story ‘Young Goodman Brown’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

 

Book details

Original Title Young Goodman Brown
Author Nathaniel Hawthorne
Edition Language English
Publisher Wildside Press
Genre Short story, Fiction
Pages Paperback, 48 pages
Size 257 KB
Format PDF
Originally Published September 9th, 2005
First Published 1835

Summary of the story

Outside of his own house in Salem Village, Goodman Brown takes his leave from his wife, Faith. Faith, her hat adorned with a pink ribbon, tells her husband not to leave, as she feels scared to be alone. But Goodman assures her if she says her prayers she will not come to any harm and takes his final leave while thinking that his wife might have guessed the evil intentions of his trip. But he promises to be a better person after the trip.

Setting off on a road through a gloomy forest, Goodman fears there might be Indians or the devil himself is lurking behind the trees. Soon after Goodman encounters a mysterious man, dressed as a regular person, carrying a walking stick that has a carved serpent engraved on it. The man greets Goodman like they were familiar with each other.

The mysterious man gives Goodman ‘the staff and he refuses, saying that he and his family have been Christians for generations and he cannot be associated with the man. Goodman wants to return to the village but the man says that he knew Goodman’s father and grandfather, the governor of the state, and even the members of the churches of New England. The man’s words startled Goodman and again, he wants to return to the village to his wife Faith.

As they were speaking, they encounter Goody Cloyse, a respected and pious woman from Goodman’s village. Goodman hides, and to his surprise he discovers that Goody Cloyse is a witch, going to the devil’s evil forest ceremony. And the mysterious man is the Devil.

Once again, Goodman expressed his intention of returning to the village for Faith’s sake. The man tells him to rest. The man gives the staff to Goodman, tells him to use it if Goodman changes his mind and disappears. Goodman hides once again as he hears the sound of horses traveling.

To his shock, Goodman hears the voices of Deacon Gookin and the minister of the church. Goodman intends to get back to Faith as the whole world has turned evil. He suddenly hears Faith’s voice from the ceremony and shouts her name while the pink ribbon in her cap flutters in the sky.

Confused and dazzled, Goodman grabs the staff and arrives at the ceremony. In the congregation, a figure appears on the rock and tells to summon the converts. The minister and Deacon grab Goodman and drag him forward while Goody Cloyse and Martha present Faith. Goodman then tells faith to look up to heaven and resist the devil and suddenly finds himself in the darkness of the forest.

The next morning, Goodman returns to his village and sees everything is normal, people he saw at the ceremony were leading their regular life, unable to tell if the incident of yesterday’s life was a dream or not. But now, Goodman’s life is changed, he cannot trust anyone in the village anymore and finally dies at an old age, shaken by fear and miserableness.

This book offers some unique insight on guilt vs. innocence, alienation vs. community, good vs. evil, the most fundamental human natures. You will encounter some finest works of symbolism, metaphors of literature while reading this book.

So, start reading.

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