Dr. Nancy Von Rosk
Forms of Literature
Young Goodman Brown is a short fiction story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Goodman Brown goes off on a journey into the forest for one night after saying goodbye to Faith, his wife. Before going he reassures her that he must go on this travel and that she can sleep peacefully in bed. If she does this no harm will ever come to her while he is gone. Goodman Brown believes that Faith knows the purpose of the journey and hopes he comes out a better person. But to no prior knowledge, Goodman Brown does not know what he is getting himself into going into the forest.
As Goodman Brown first enters the forest he is scared and frightened. In his mind he remembers the terrified and saddened look on Faith’s face as he left. According to Nealy, critics believe that Goodman Brown knew why he was going in the forest and knew exactly what he was getting himself into. But in reality Goodman Brown is depraved of his entire journey and what is going to happen (Nealy 255). He feels ashamed to be in the woods and hides as Goody Cloyse, the minister, and Deacon Gookin passes by. He seems as is the woods is a place where no good can happen and that in the seventeenth-century Puritans believed the wild New World was one to fear and dominate. Goodman Brown is more concerned with how his faith appears to people than the fact that he has decided to meet with the devil. When he finds out that his father, grandfather, Goody Cloyse, the minister, Deacon Gookin, and Faith are all in with the devil, Brown finally decides that he should do the same. Hawthorne seems to say that basing society on morals and religion lies in the hands of the society who do not make their own moral decisions. When people begin copying others faiths, their own become weak. He associates forests with wild Indians and sees one behind every tree he passes. When he finally sees the devil he thinks it is a family honor and that none of his fathers would every walk through it for pleasure, but the devil then tells him that that isn’t the case. Goodman Brown feels comfortable in the forest only after he had given into the devil. According to The Mysterious and the human in ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ and ‘Young Goodman Brown,’ the companion is the devil, or at least evil, since Brown feels he could not face his minister if he went further on his journey with this man.” They also mention that ‘There is no good on Earth.’ (Smith)
When Goodman Brown goes through the events throughout the forest he loses his innocence because of his corruptibility. He does not know what events in his life are dreams or realities. His loss of innocence was inevitable. Goodman Brown chooses on his own to enter the forest and meet with the devil. During