Comparing the Contrasting

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Comparing the Contrasting
Written two centuries apart, “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “Where Are You Going; Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates are two seemingly different stories. However, if looked at closely, several elements can be tied together. Each story has a similar point of view, but the story is told from two different perspectives. Several themes are unique to the stories, but deep within similarities can be found. The authors conclude their stories in two different ways, but the endings are somewhat the same. These two stories contain elements that are obviously contrasting, yet comparable at the same time.

Having each story been written in a third-person narrative form, the reader knows the innermost feelings of the protagonists and watches the main characters change. The reader learns what Brown feels as he thinks to himself, “What a wretch I am to leave her on such an errand!” In “Where Are You Going,” the narrator supplies much of Connie’s feelings, such as in the first paragraph, “she knew she was pretty and that was everything.” However, in Young Goodman Brown, “point of view swings subtly between the narrator and the title character. As a result, readers are privy to Goodman Brown’s deepest, darkest thoughts, while also sharing an objective view of his behavior” (Themes and Construction: Young 2). Point of view of “Young Goodman Brown” contrasts with that of “Where Are You Going” because “This narrative voice stays closely aligned to Connie’s point of view” (Themes and Construction: Where 2). Despite the subtle contrast, both points of view allow the reader to see the changes in Brown and Connie; Brown loses his faith and Connie loses herself. Point of view also affects how the reader sees other characters. The reader only sees her mother, father, June and Arnold Friend as Connie sees them. The characters of Young Goodman Brown are viewed as the narrator describes them, whether that is how Brown sees them...
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