Loss Of Innocence In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

Topics: Salem witch trials, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Salem, Massachusetts, Young Goodman Brown / Pages: 6 (1312 words) / Published: Feb 25th, 2017
We begin our journey into the story “Young Goodman Brown,” by first looking at some of the eccentricities surrounding its famous author, Nathanial Hawthorne himself. Hawthorne was born on Independence Day, 4 July 1804, and died just prior to his 60th birthday on 19 May 1864. Several of Hawthorne’s most notable ancestors were actively involved in the zealously religious persecution of individuals suspected or accused of depravity and witchcraft. One particular ancestor of interest was a judge in the infamous Salem witchcraft trials in the late 1600’s. It has been highly speculated that Hawthorne added the letter “w” in his name when he began writing, in an effort to disguise and distance himself from this notorious ancestor. Hawthorne was …show more content…
James informs the reader that the term “Goodman” is derived from an outdated term of the period used to identify a married farmer. This term is just one rung below a gentleman on the social latter of the time (James). Some other symbolic references that can be applied to this are that “Young” refers to youthful age and naivety, while “Goodman” infers being uncorrupted (Lorcher). This naivety can be seen as a direct reference to his being tempted by Satan on his forthcoming journey and the potential loss of innocence. Goodman Brown informs his newlywed wife that he must take this mysterious journey without deviation. In this manner, it is very much like Hawthorne’s own father leaving on the mysterious sea voyage and never returning. This journey happened despite Faith’s misgivings. He proceeds to walk into the gloomy woods and the darkest trees seem to make way for his passage and then quickly engulf behind him (George). A picture is painted much like that of Mose’s parting the Red Sea. This is also much like the symbolic view of sin which beckons and then consumes the unwary. Indicative of Hawthorne’s relatives going down dark paths like the persecution of the Quakers or suspected

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