"Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorn.

Essay by ShakesCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 2003

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Young Goodman Brown

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

In short stories, I have learned that there is much more than what at

first meets the eye. Almost everything in the story has meaning. All I

have to do is try to find the hints and clues the writer drops and

manage to put them all together. I have to concentrate more than I ever

have so that I can interpret the authors meaning and what he or she

might really be trying to convey in the writing. In "Young Goodman

Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, I determined that through diverse

symbolism, Hawthorne writes of a man who in his coming of age learns

that there is a darkness in everyone and upon this coming of knowledge,

he is forever changed.

From the start, Hawthorne describes Goodman Brown as a good Puritan who

is devoted to his wife ^ÑFaith,' whose name he uses like a shield for his

soul. At the beginning of his walk through the woods, Brown runs into

the Devil who tries to convert him; this is shown by the Devil's

offering of the staff to Brown. The Devil goes on to say that Brown's

family has had dealings with evil in the past; examples used are the

Salem witch trials and the killing of Indian non-combatants. This may

be Hawthornes way of dealing with guilt he might have felt over his own

forbears' actions during those times. Brown goes on to say that he

could not bear the shame of betraying his faith while the Devil is

naming people known and respected by Brown to try to show him that it

wouldn't really be that bad if Brown joined the witches' coven. When

Goody Cloyse is encountered, Brown learns how she truly feels about him;

also, Goody Cloyse freely...