Faith vs. Temptation

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Faith vs. Temptation

Temptation, at one time or another, has touched all of our lives. What made us choose one path over the other? Was it your faith in God, your knowing of what was right and wrong, or was it the influences of the loved ones you not only surround yourself with, but the one you have trusted to lead down the straight and narrow. All of these questions come to light in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown. Hawthorne’s tale is of a young, newly wedded man, and his internal struggle between faith and temptation. Set in Salem, at the times of the witch trials, Young Goodman Brown begins to question his own faith as the devil himself sheds new light on Brown’s strong beliefs. “With heaven above, and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the Devil!”… Or will he? Young Goodman Brown prepares to leave on his lonely, life-changing journey, by first saying good bye to his wife of three months. Faith as his wife is called, for symbolic reasons I’m sure, fears for her husband and wishes him to stay. This good bye is Brown’s chance to choose faith over temptation. “Poor little faith, thought he, for his heart smote him. What a wretch am I to leave her on such an errand!” Brown gives in to temptation. This won’t be the last time. Being scared and alone on his journey, Brown talking to himself says, “What if the devil himself should be at my elbow!” A few more steps and Brown now has a companion; coincidence? I think not. “The only thing about him that could be fixed upon as remarkable as his staff, which bore the likeliness of a great black snake...like a living serpent."” It was after this initial greeting and Brown noticing his companion’s walking stick that Brown once again was torn between his faith and the temptation of the errand he was on. Goodman Brown tries to convince himself he is doing wrong and turn back....
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