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Fiction Essay: Young Goodman Brown

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Fiction Essay: Young Goodman Brown
Composition and literature February 22, 2014

In Nathaniel Hawthorne 's short story "Young Goodman Brown, "the author uses mystery and suspense to hold the attention of the reader. From the beginning to the end of the story, Hawthorne leads the reader into asking the question, "What does all of this witchcraft, mysticism, and the double-sided lifestyles of the characters actually mean?" The reader must not look at "Young Goodman Brown" as just a suspenseful story but also see the many forms of symbolism the author uses. Hawthorne shows that a strong faith is the greatest asset of a man or woman, and when that faith is compromised, the effects of this can cause one to be filled with doubt and cynicism toward the rest of the world.

Goodman Brown does show he has a strong faith before he enters the forest and sometimes during his journey to the black mass. Hawthorne uses the very name of Goodman Brown 's wife, Faith, as a symbol of Goodman Brown 's own faith throughout the story. Goodman Brown 's strong faith can be seen through the initial description of Faith: "And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap" (Pg.91). Hawthorne suggests she is pure and innocent, as is Goodman Brown 's own faith. Also, the reassuring replies Goodman Brown gives to Faith suggest that his faith cannot be weakened: " 'Amen! ' Cried Goodman Brown. 'Say thy prayers, dear Faith, and go to bed at dusk, and no harm will come to thee '" (Pg.91). Goodman Brown sets off on his journey with a strong will and an "excellent resolve for the future" (Pg.91), and he "felt himself justified in making more haste on his present evil purpose" (Pg.91). Although he knows he is about to partake in a sinful act, Goodman



Cited: Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Young Goodman Brown." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. By X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. 90-99. Print.

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