Hawthorne: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Young Goodman Brown Essay

Submitted By Omarlikesfood
Words: 1078
Pages: 5

A. Background on the author
1. Hawthorne ago on July 4, 1804. Salem, Massachusetts, home to the infamous witch trials of 1692, served as both his birthplace and his favorite location for devising novelistic plots. Two of his most famous novels, The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables, were each located in the Salem setting. Some of his earliest ancestors were among those who persecuted and interrogated presumed witches during the Salem trials, and their actions apparently haunted Nathaniel so much that they show up at times through different antagonistic characters in his writings. Little is known about Hawthorne's early life. We do know that he was quite fond of poets such as Shakespeare and Milton, and also of being alone with nature. In 1842, at the age of thirty-six, Nathaniel married Sophia Peabody and fathered three children with her - two daughters and one son. For a short time, Nathaniel moved his family abroad to Liverpool, England to operate as the U.S. Consul there. Here he met England's famous playwright and poet, Robert Browning. During his lifetime he also became friends with President Franklin Pierce and literary great, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. These literary and political friends all grieved his passing on May 19, 1964. His wife carried on some of his works until her death in 1871.
B. Author’s major works and awards
1. Young Goodman Brown
2. The Scarlet Letter.
C. The title and the genre of the selection which was assigned
1. Young Goodman Brown- Fiction, Short story
D. Setting
1. Salem and the Nearby Forest
E. Characters
1. Young Goodman Brown: mild-mannered Puritan by day, aspiring devil-worshipper by night. The Old Man/Devil- the devil appears to be an ordinary man, which suggests that every person, including Goodman Brown, has the capacity for evil. Faith- she represents the stability of the home and the domestic sphere in the Puritan worldview.
F. Brief summary of selection and its main points
The story begins at sunset in the late 17th century Salem, Massachusetts, with the young Goodman Brown leaving his home and Faith, his wife of three months, to meet with a mysterious figure deep in the forest. As he and this mysterious figure meet and proceed further into the dark forest, it is broadly hinted that Goodman Brown's traveling companion is, in fact, the Devil, and that the purpose of their journey is to join in an unspecified but obviously unholy ritual. Goodman Brown wavers and expresses reluctance, not only once but several times, yet they continue on. As their journey continues Brown discovers others also proceeding to the meeting, many of them his townsfolk whom he had considered exemplary Christians, including his minister and deacon and the woman who taught him his catechism. He is astonished and disheartened and determines, once again, to turn back. But then he hears his wife's voice and realizes that she is one of the ones who is to be initiated at the meeting. Recognizing that he has lost his Faith (in both senses), he now resolves to carry out his original intention and enthusiastically joins the procession. At the ceremony, which is carried out at a crude, flame-lit rocky altar in a clearing deep in the forest, the new converts are called to come forth. He and Faith approach the altar and, as they are about to be anointed in blood to seal their alliance with wickedness, he cries out to Faith to look to heaven and resist. In the next instant he finds himself standing alone in the forest, next to the cold, wet rock. Arriving back in Salem the next morning, Goodman Brown is uncertain whether his experience was real or only a dream, but he is nevertheless deeply shaken. His view of his neighbors is distorted by his memories of that night. He lives out his days an embittered and suspicious cynical man, wary of everyone around him, including his wife Faith.
G. Identify the author’s intent or