Point of View in Young Goodman Brown

Good Essays
In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," the story is told from a limited omniscient third-person narrator point of view. Limited omniscient third-person narrator means that the focal point of the story is limited to one character. This technique works well with the story because it allows the narrator to portray what Goodman Brown is doing, and also allows him to assess and remark on Goodman Brown's doings throughout the story. Sometimes this method is used to convey the beliefs of the author, and in this instance I feel that Hawthorne is using this story to express his ideas on humans in general. The story, "Young Goodman Brown," has many themes, but it is my belief that the main theme in this classic short story is guilt versus innocence. In my opinion, third-person limited omniscient was the perfect fit for this story because the narrator is not subjective.
The concept of point of view is very important in most stories and that includes, "Young Goodman Brown". The narrator can tell us what Goodman Brown is thinking and doing, but he can also throw in his two cents about what he thinks about Goodman Brown's actions or thoughts. I am glad that Hawthorne uses this point of view method because I believe that it makes the story so much better. The narrator is able to tell the story from Goodman Brown's point of view and then make an opinion about it. When Goodman Brown says, "Well; she's a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night, I'll cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven" (336). Then the narrator follows that up by saying, "With this excellent resolve for the future, Goodman Brown felt himself justified in making more haste on his present evil purpose"(336). This is one of many instances throughout this story in which Goodman Brown says something and the narrator comes back with an opinion of his own.
In "Goodman Brown", I believe that the narrator is third-person limited omniscient because he only speaks from Goodman Brown's point of



Cited: Page Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Young Goodman Brown." Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Ed. Aron Keesbury. Boston: Wadsworth, 2004. 336-344.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story is a about determinant beliefs and an epic struggle between good and evil. Young Goodman Brown faces some real evils, but also has to face his own devilish side, his temptations, his anger and his family's history of cruelty. Hawthorne’s character, Young Goodman Brown, leaves the reader with the impression that "GOOD-MAN" is the focal character that symbolizes his will to be the noble person, in the battle between good and evil. Young Goodman Brown’s faith is tested, and only his walk through the woods will tell how he alters his beliefs and makes changes in his life insistently. Within the in short story, Goodman Brown encounters a journey that takes him through the realization between saints and sinners that later leads him into the woods to encounter a man posed as Satan and a journey back home that leads to delusional thoughts about his community.…

    • 942 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    a. Goodman Brown's sets out on a walk in the forest, but knows that evil awaits him.…

    • 973 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    In Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”, the audience is introduced to a young man who is preparing to take a journey into the unknown. Faith, his wife begs him to stay the character is persistent on taking his journey. While Goodman is taking this journey he is accompanied by an older male who by all terms seems to be the devil. Goodman has strong beliefs in his family, community, and most importantly his faith, but this will all become a fleeing thought after his journey with his companion. Although Goodman has strong christened belief and family this is test when his companion through the forest reveals his family to him.…

    • 1670 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    Young Goodman Brown

    • 1150 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown.” ELT107 Analyzing Prose: Short Fiction and Essays—Short Stories. Singapore: UniSIM, 2010. 21-30. Print.…

    • 1150 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    1. What is revealed in the first seven paragraphs about the characters of Goodman Brown…

    • 1169 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Young Goodman Brown ask a false question of faith, false in the assertion that the question can have only two answers. Faith is singularly defined as good thus all else, especially doubt, is evil. Therefore, Goodman Brown’s revelation - not all people of faith have pure faith- is profoundly troubling. In effect the rigid construct of his world is shattered. Furthermore Brown, due to his position in society, epitomizes respectability and is naturally married to Faith. His status is essentially his birthright, for his father and grandfather before him were reputable men. To an extent Brown functions as the common American man who cherishes the history of a country and family name bestowed onto him while lamenting obligation. Goodman encounters the conflict of masculinity explicitly, not only does he carry a highly regarded family name, but he also is not privy to innocence and blind faith like his wife. Faith is pink, childlike, and unknowing of darkness or doubt. Faith represents the impossibility of unadulterated belief, for it is remarkably unlikely for a mature adult to be so ignorant of life’s tribulations. However, in Young Goodman Brown unadulterated faith is presented as the only pious option even though doubt is inevitable and pervasive. Doubt and the darkness lingering in the forest have, in fact, reached nearly the whole town. There in the woods “the good shrank not from the wicked”(85). In reality, there is no clear divide between good and evil, thus there is no clear divide between faith and doubt. Such a statement, a refusal of dichotomy,…

    • 405 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The point of view in “Young Goodman Brown” and “The Lottery” is a third person perspective was used to portray a person looking in on the scene. A third person perspective is when there is a person looking at the story and it seems as if they are there watching; however, it is not normally defined on who is telling the story. In “Young Goodman Brown,” a limited omniscient narrator was used during parts of his walk but it is mostly third person objective. In “Young Goodman Brown”, Hawthorne an example of the third person objective is “His head being turned back, he passed a crook of the road again, beheld the figure of a man…

    • 769 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his short story, 'Young Goodman Brown', generates a relationship in direct contrast with that of a true romance among the roles of Faith and Young Goodman Brown. Whereas, a…

    • 576 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Comparing the Contrasting

    • 1622 Words
    • 7 Pages

    Having each story been written in a third-person narrative form, the reader knows the innermost feelings of the protagonists and watches the main characters change. The reader learns what Brown feels as he thinks to himself, “What a wretch I am to leave her on such an errand!” In “Where Are You Going,” the narrator supplies much of Connie’s feelings, such as in the first paragraph, “she knew she was pretty and that was everything.” However, in Young Goodman Brown, “point of view swings subtly between the narrator and the title character. As a result, readers are privy to Goodman Brown’s deepest, darkest thoughts, while also sharing an objective view of his behavior” (Themes and Construction: Young 2). Point of view of “Young Goodman Brown” contrasts with that of “Where Are You Going” because “This narrative voice stays closely aligned to Connie’s point of view” (Themes and Construction: Where 2). Despite the subtle contrast, both points of view allow the reader to see the changes in Brown and Connie; Brown loses his faith and Connie loses herself. Point of view also affects how the reader sees other characters. The reader only sees her mother, father, June and Arnold Friend as Connie sees them. The characters of Young Goodman Brown are viewed as the narrator describes them, whether that is how Brown sees them or…

    • 1622 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    However the knowledge that Young Goodman Brown is after would never allow this to happen. As presented in the story Young Goodman Brown became extremely paranoid and died an unhappy man. His temptation and his success in getting what he wanted changed the way his life was forever. The temptation of evil and knowledge for the unknown are major components to Hawthorne’s story including this one. The change in gender roles of Adam and Eve along with a change in setting lead to story that can greatly represent how the apple would make a person change in a world much closer to…

    • 369 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    True evil is more than an emotion or an act; it is an existence that encompasses ones complete being. Many authors try to depict evil but never capture the full essence of it. The stories of "Young Goodman Brown"� by Nathaniel Hawthorne and "A Goodman is Hard to Find"� by Flannery O' Connor clearly illustrate pure evil.…

    • 1179 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" is about an ordinary man who leaves his wife to go on a journey and along the way confronts evil and the devil. His venture into the forest is his archetypal journey. There are a few foreshadowing moments in the story which leads the reader to see how Goodman Brown subconsciously knew the evil he was going to do. His wife, Faith, wore pink ribbons and explained to Brown that she did not want him to go on his journey because she had had terrible dreams. As he was on his way, he became aware that "as she spoke there was trouble in her face, as if a dream had warned her what work is to be done tonight." (1) He quickly forgot about her, in a form of denial, and went on with his journey. His wife, Faith, is an archetypal character that shows how Brown has faith, religiously speaking, but strays away from his faith while he literally strays from his wife when he returns. The pink ribbons she wears are the mixture of her innocence and passion. The reader is reassured that Brown is set out to do evil when "Goodman Brown felt himself justified in making more haste on his present evil purpose." (1) Key words that are intertwined throughout the story evoking the evilness of the forest and the difference between Salem and the woods. The road to the forest is a "dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest" (1) and that is where Brown comes in contact with his guide, the devil. Brown sees all of the evils…

    • 711 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    In Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne tells the tale of a man and his discovery of evil. Hawthorne's primary concern is with evil and how it affects Young Goodman Brown. Through the use of tone and setting, Hawthorne portrays the nature of evil and the psychological effects it can have on man. He shows how discovering the existence of evil brings Brown to view the world in a cynical way. Brown learns the nature of evil and, therefore, feels surrounded by its presence constantly.…

    • 1869 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    In the short story, “Young Goodman Brown,” Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the literary archetype of a good versus evil opposition to contribute to Goodman Brown’s fate. In the beginning of the story, Goodman Brown must choose to “put off [his] journey until sunrise, and sleep in [his] own bed” (133), or abandon his wife for the night to pursue an evil errand. Even after his wife pleads him to stay, Goodman makes the decision to leave his home to journey to an evil place. Considering how quickly Hawthorne allows Goodman to face a conflict of good versus evil in the story, readers begin assuming that Goodman’s condition will directly connect to the choices he makes in these situations. Readers find proof of this connection when Goodman…

    • 400 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Youn Goodman Brown

    • 1722 Words
    • 7 Pages

    This chapter looks at "Young Goodman Brown" from the perspective of the female characters. Baym notes that the protagonists, usually male, reject any sexual relationship with a woman, ordinarily the wife or fiancee (136). Usually, the rejection has a fatal effect on the scorned woman. Baym notes that stories written before 1842 have a female character who is destroyed only by accident not by intention. She notes that Brown's departure from Faith was not an intentional act since Brown actually planned on returning to her after the forest trip. But Baym believes that the very act of the man leaving the woman shows the male's indifference to the security of their female counterparts. Baym sees the women as being sexual beings and men as "sexually frozen" (138). She advises that man's lack of sexual desire is what truly kills the woman and allows the man to continue living in a hollow life. Baym quickly assures her readers that her comments do not reflect "the real nature of women but about the way in which men imagine them" (138). She suggests that Hawthorne's men are obsessed with females but the only way they can make any connection with women is through fantasy.…

    • 1722 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Good Essays