When the Answer to a Question is a Question - Young Goodman Brown Essay

Submitted By sirstep
Words: 701
Pages: 3

English 113
March 13, 2014
When an Answer to the Question is the Question In a world where violence is an undertone of many streets in the night, desire drives the once innocent to new lows, and connections are made or broken in the interest of self-benefit over friendship it can be said that evil is prevalent force. The story “Young Goodman Brown” highlights a journey into this force and its effects. With the use of carefully chosen names and events, the journey that Goodman Brown goes through is a symbolic representation of man’s interaction with evil. Each character represents a part of the battle with this force, while the journey is a reflection of Brown himself. And the question of the state of reality that results at the end of this story symbolizes the second round of the battle. At the beginning, Goodman Brown takes his first steps toward the forest with intent to meet the devil. He represents the interest aspect, saying of course “after this one night I'll cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven” (Hawthorne 1). Although his intentions aren’t purely of evil, they still are a dettachment from love, and the juxtaposition of his character is shown through his name. This love is personified by Faith, his recent wife, who has a feeling of what he intends to do and yet allows him to go anyway. On the way there, he encounters one of his nameless companions, and this man attempts to convince him that this errand is a worthy one. He symbolizes personal demons, using mind tricks to achieve any goal. And soon they come across Goody Cloyse, who mentions her stolen broomstick as if to suggest she is a witch herself. She represents the loss of innocence as one grows older and becomes aware of surrounding, hidden evils. Finally, Deacon Gookin and the minister both respresent the illusion put on by evil to draw in an unsuspecting population. Their positions of authority are a necessity. With the way the story plays out, it’s seen that this journey is a reflection of Goodman Brown. As he makes it, he realizes piece by piece that everything he thought once was is now the opposite. The most righteous people in his life are actually close followers of the devil, and it brings the question of who he was in actuality. Is he a faithful servant of God? But as the story progresses, he becomes more and more unwilling to resist the calls of the devil and his followers. This can be equated to increasing following of the devil by the population, enough to the point where it consumes the whole area. Just before he gets to the meeting, it says “all through the haunted forest there could be nothing more