Crysel M. Garcia
4 March 2013
A Fallible Man
A Character Analysis of Young Goodman Brown
In the story of "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the character of Goodman Brown is presented as an average Joe- respectively by today's terms. Goodman Brown's story is set in a New England state in the late 17th century where he begins the story as an honest, loving husband with profound resolve for life, his Puritan beliefs, humanity, and his sweet beautiful wife Faith. In Goodman Brown's efforts to make life comfortable for Faith and himself, Goodman Brown consorts with the Devil to ensure a prosperous future for them both. However, this decision weighs heavy on the conscience of Young Goodman Brown during the course of his journey through forest as he struggles to convince himself to remain a decent man. Hawthorne uses this journey through the forest as a metaphorical life journey in which Puritan values can easily be corrupted.
Furthermore, Hawthorne explores the hypocrisy in religion as Young Goodman Brown's forefathers, prominent figures and ultimately his lovely wife Faith all fall short of grace. Alas, all hope in humanity and anything that is deemed good is completely shattered when Goodman Brown witnesses his precious Faith at the Black Mass. Whether these events in the forest are real or simply just a horrific nightmare, the truth becomes irrelevant as Goodman Brown struggles with his own corruptibility as well as society's where he began his journey as a lighthearted trusting family man to a sad, miserable and pessimistic man for the entirety of his life.
As Goodman Brown "keeps his covenant" (320) to meet with the Devil in the depths of the forest, he begins to examine himself internally in comparison to his forefathers, all the...