Forms of Evil in john Goodman Brown

Essay by andresJoseUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, May 2002

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Evil in Young Goodman Brown

Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown, presents to us a young Puritan named Goodman Brown, who experiences the influences of evil in a journey through the woods. Evil is personified into a man who accompanies Goodman along the woods. Filled with symbolism and ambiguity Hawthorne accounts how an essentially good person can be susceptible to the forces of evil. However Goodman's loss of innocence can also be interpreted as a loss of faith in his own Puritan religion. Goodman Brown journey represents both an internal and externally social conflict, one that changes him by changing the way he perceives the Puritan culture around him.

Goodman Brown begins the story with a sense of uncertain faith about his life and his religion. These beliefs are personified into his wife Faith. The reader becomes evident that Brown has just been married to Faith. This may symbolize Brown's new acceptance of the Puritan faith.

However, much to the dismay of his Faith, Brown is called on a journey deep into the woods which represents Brown's desire to test his faith, " My journey as thou has callest it, forth and back again, must need be done txixt now and sunrise"(633). Even at the beginning stages of his journey we receive foreshadowing elements from the author that Goodman Brown will eventually leave his faith, "Poor little Faith.... What a wretch am I to leave her for such and errand"(634).

While on his journey the influences of evil on the Puritan religion are developed by Goodman's Brown encounter with the devil. With the devil, Brown converses as they walk through the woods. The devil describes a reality different to the one Goodman Brown believes in. He points out that Goodman Brown's family are not the "Good Christians" that he perceives them...