Good vs. Evil
the Moral Flaws in Young Goodman Brown
In Salem, Massachusetts religion was very prominent in the 1700s, especially during the Salem Witch Trials. Salem, Massachusetts was known for the numerous witch trials, and the persecutions. Many people were accused for practicing witchcraft, being bewitched, and for making covenants with the devil. Nathaniel Hawthorne introduces Goodman Brown as a newlywed husband who is going to embark on a tedious journey into the forest. This journey into the forest was to meet the Devil, and to establish a covenant with him. As he travels, Brown is faced whether to go against his morals, beliefs, and religion. Goodman Brown realizes not everything is what it seems, and he learns about the true morality of the people around him. In “Young Goodman Brown,” Nathaniel Hawthorne reveals the common differences between good versus evil, and the weakness of public morality,
As the story begins we meet Goodman Brown, and his newly wed wife Faith. The couple is talking about the journey Brown is going to take, and Faith is trying to convince him to stay until the morning to travel into the forest. Faith then tells Goodman that “A lone woman is troubled with suck dreams and such thoughts that she’s afraid of herself sometimes.” When Faith says that it is to let Brown know that she is scared to be alone at night, nor does she want him to tarry off to the forest at the moment. She would rather him stay with her so that she can feel safe, secured, and unharmed. Brown assures her that everything is okay, and that it is going to be a one nigh endeavor. Goodman clings on to this idea of Faith as he starts his journey into the forest. He hopes that as long as Faith stays holy, he can somehow find himself to resist the devil. Goodman Brown feels that the good in Faith’s heart will keep him making irrational decisions. The good that is in faith is shown so that Goodman can travel without worrying about her. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses Goodman’s wife Faith to represent her purity as a woman. In the 1700s, a pure woman was the best thing in the world. If the woman was pure it made her worth more than anything that an impure woman could offer. Brown states that “she’s a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night I’ll cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven.” Hawthorne is trying to convey that even though Brown has done wrong in his life Faith’s purity could save him from a life of sin. It was known in these times that the men would leave the family for religious purposes. Faith’s purity brings the well-being out of Goodman Brown because he knows that he can’t go wrong with her. Brown realizes that her purity is what keeps him in line, and it is why he insists on remaining good. If he remains on this path, remembers the purity of Faith, and resist wrong doing then he can remain faithful to his religion. The ribbons that Faith puts on her hat also represent her purity. The color pink is often used when newborn baby girls are born to symbolize that they are young, innocent, and pure. As little girls get older they tend to like this color more than the rest. Pink is used frequently to show the feminine side of girls, and how they are different from boys. The pink ribbons are associated with innocence and modesty. Faith is considered pure because at the beginning she shows to Goodman that she doesn’t want him to leave her alone. The newly wed wife would rather have her husband around her than him travel afar. Hawthorne mentions the ribbons several times in the beginning, and this states her youthfulness as well as her happiness.
Traveling into the forest is when the tone shifts from innocent and kindhearted to gloomy and melancholy. Angie Sole states that, “Goodman Brown’s experience in the dark, evil forest correlated and would have been recognized by Puritans as a symbol of mistrust of their own corrupt hearts and...