Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown"

Essay by LoddelydotHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 2003

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This essay explores the morals presented in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown"

It is difficult to summarize Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" with solely one moral. There are so many different sides to the tale that can give every reader a different moral to relate back to their life. I think that Hawthorne had this in mind while writing the story because he made it so that it is open to different interpretations. It is apparent that after Goodman's journey he becomes distrusting because he either met the devil in that forest or fell asleep and dreamt of him. The story seems to lean toward him meeting the devil in person because the period between awake and sleeping is left unclear in shades of gray; not black and white. If the entire journey had simply been a nightmare, and the author wanted readers to be sure of it, I believe he would have made it clearer by describing his anxiety with more detail in the beginning and then stating that he awoke as to clear up any confusion.

In this quote the author implies that it should be the readers choice to decide whether to believe the nightmare a reality. "Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest, and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting? Be it so, if you will. But, alas! It was an evil omen for young Goodman Brown. A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man, did he become, from the night...." Due to these differing story lines, different morals can be deduced. Goodman Brown's struggle between the evil temptations, the devil, and the proper church abiding life, is a struggle he does not think he can face. The tale is about a man and his faith in...