Young Goodman Brown Analysis

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 494
  • Published : April 16, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
“Young Goodman Brown”
“Be it so if you will; but, alas! It was a dream of evil omen for young Goodman Brown. A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man did he become from the night of that fearful dream. On the Sabbath day, when the congregation was singing a holy psalm, he could not listen because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear and drowned all the blessed strain. When the minister spoke from the pulpit with power and fervid eloquence, and, with his hand on the open Bible, of the sacred truths of our religion, and of saint-like lives and triumphant deaths, and of future bliss or misery unutterable, then did Goodman Brown turn pale, dreading lest the roof should thunder down upon the graqy blasphemer and his hearers. Often, waking suddenly at midnight, he shrank from the bosom of Faith; and at morning or eventide, when the family knelt down at prayer; he scowled and muttered to himself, and gazed sternly at his wife, and turned away. And when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave a hoary corpse, followed by Faith, an aged woman, and children and grandchildren, a goodly procession, besides neighbors not a few, they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom” (Hawthorne 639).

“Young Goodman Brown” is a short story by the author Nathanial Hawthorne. It is about a man of God that goes into the woods to meet the devil, and he gets initiated into the circle of evil. The passage is the last paragraph of the story and talks about the outcomes of Brown’s journey and the change the character goes through. Hawthorne use of word choice, diction, sentence structure, tone, and theme, effectively show the reader Brown’s change in character. Many literary devices in the story leave the reader with the feeling Hawthorne intended in the end. The author’s word choice is incredibly important in the final part of the short story because it leads the reader to Goodman Brown’s final change and it shapes the theme and tone. The first line sums up the story’s outcome of what has happened: “Be it so if you will; but, alas! It was a dream of evil omen for young Goodman Brown”(Hawthorne 648). The diction of this passage gives the reader a glimpse of the time period it is intended to represent which is the 1600s. The paragraph has many archaic terms and contains formal diction in its content. Words such as “fervid” and “alas” are examples of the eloquence and extended vocabulary that the story includes. Hawthorne’s choice in diction shows that the story is one that reflects religion. Words such as “blasphemer”, “saint-like” and “congregation” display biblical connotations. The author continues his religious and dark word choice to shape the tone of the story. In the climax of the story, where Goodman Brown is in the forest and encounters evil, the reader starts to see the dark connotations. As the story continues and the question of whether or not the event in the forest actually happened, the story goes through its falling action as the protagonist concludes that the event was not a dream and from then on sees the people in his village as liars and imposters. Words such as “deaths”, “dreading”, “pale unutterable misery” and “thunder” imply the darkness through color and synonyms of despair. This particular line in the story also gives insight to an inner guilt and self-loathing that consumes Brown. Young Goodman Brown’s curious wonder of evil leads him to journey into the devils clearing that night has brought this gloom. In addition to the religious suggestions throughout the story and passage, very negative and deathly words are used; this helps the reader interpret the theme of innocence versus evil. Hawthorne describes this effect during the sermon on Goodman Brown when he says “… when the congregation was singing a holy psalm, he could not listen because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear and drowned all the blessed...
tracking img