Young Goodman Brown

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Humanity’s Internal Struggle of Good vs. Evil in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is a story of a religious man’s journey through a forest and the inner conflict he faces when encountering a traveler who claims to be the Devil. Brown is an honest, hardworking, religious everyman that Hawthorne uses to symbolize humanity while the traveller character who appears to be the Devil represents the inheritable evil that lies within mankind. “Young Goodman Brown” is the story of Brown’s internal struggle in which Hawthorne uses to represent the conflict that humanity faces when trying to resist it’s own evil nature. Brown’s experience in the forest causes him great uncertainty and doubt. Upon his first encounter with the devil he says, "Faith kept me back a while" (Hawthorne 164). Faith is a homograph in this context. Literally, he is referring to his wife but it refers to his faith in his religion holding him back as well. Brown struggles with his beliefs from very early on. Brown’s faith continues to dwindle throughout the story. Hawthorne writes, “"Faith!" shouted Goodman Brown, in a voice of agony and desperation; and the echoes of the forest mocked him, crying, "Faith! Faith!" as if bewildered wretches were seeking her all through the wilderness” (167). The dual meaning of Faith remains consistent throughout the story. As Brown continues on his journey the tales told by the Devil cause him to become increasingly uncertain. The Devil speaks to him and says, “I helped your grandfather… your father… The deacons of many a church have drunk the communion wine with me” (Hawthorne 164-165). Brown begins to doubt those he once respected and admired. The most detrimental doubt of all is the doubt in which Brown carries with him even after the sunrise. His experience in the forest causes him to be skeptical of all those in his community from that point forward. Hawthorne writes, “he shrank from the bosom of Faith; and...
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