The Loss of Innocence

Topics: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Crime, Young Goodman Brown Pages: 4 (1407 words) Published: September 29, 2013
March 17, 2013
Assignment #2
The Loss of Innocence
Crime is an interesting aspect of our every day society. People choose to commit crimes for various motives and intentions. One thing that will always go hand-in-hand with the concept of crime is the idea of innocence. Innocence is something that we are born with and something that we slowly loose as we mature and learn. In the event of a crime, someone is always guaranteed to experience a loss of innocence whether it is the person committing the crime, the victim, or a witness. The nature of crime is not innocent, therefore the results of a crime will not be innocent. As stated above, there are many different types of crime and these types can be seen through film and literature such as “Young Goodman Brown”, “A Scandal in Bohemia”, Heart of Darkness, and The Ox-Bow Incident. All of these works feature vastly different forms of crime but they all have the common theme of innocence and, more specifically, the loss of innocence.

In the short story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a man is tempted into the dark woods by the Devil. While he is in the woods, he witnesses an evil ceremony that involves many people whom he had believed were “good” and innocent. This story does not have a blatant crime such as murder or theft, rather, the crime in this story is the loss of innocence. While Young Goodman Brown is in the woods, he is tempted by evil and he sees the evil hidden within his loved ones. Young Goodman Brown is experiencing a loss of his own innocents while he is noticing the lack of innocence of those around him. By the end of the story, Young Goodman Brown has returned home where everything and everyone appears to be normal. This part in the story is where we can see how the loss that he has experienced really affects him. With the loss of innocence that young Goodman Brown has experience, he will never know whether he was dreaming or if the people around him are truly...

Cited: Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Dover Publications, 1990.
Doyle, Arthur Conan. “A Scandal in Bohemia.” Tales of Mystery and Imagination. NY:
Weathervane Books, 1985. 303-318.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown.” An Introduction to Literature. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. Eleventh Ed. NY: Longman, 1997. 95-104.
The Ox-Bow Incident. Dir. William A. Wellman. Perf. Henry Fonda, Dana Amdrews.
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. 1943. DVD.
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