Puritans from many years ago strived to lead exemplary lives. God and work were their main focuses in life and anything that differed from the normal life was not encouraged. The Puritans thought that people were associated with witchcraft if they seemed any different from the usual, accustomed behavior. Nathaniel Hawthorne shows the journey of a Puritan man who is faced with the decision to go to the dark side, or stay with his perfect life back at home. In “Young Goodman Brown,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, he proves the theme that evil is always present by the journey in the forest, the meeting of the second traveler, and the Black Mass.
The forest itself is looked upon as devilish, horrifying and dark, and Goodman Brown does not like the appearance of it. He is unaware of the outcome of his trip, but he continues to go on. The path that he takes is “darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind” (Hawthorne 54). The forest is a symbol of Brown’s mind so because there are many things going on within it, the situation could be very dangerous. He is basically trapped inside the forest until he wakes up from his own bad dream. Hawthorne adds more darkness to the story with this and proves that evil is everywhere in life. Young Goodman Brown has thoughts of his own when he enters the woods, and sometimes he wants to turn around in fear that “there may be a devilish Indian behind every tree” (Hawthorne 54). This represents his ignorance of his journey that night. He questions himself although this is a statement, by even thinking this. It shows that he knows something evil is going to take place on his journey. Even though he doesn’t know what was going to happen, this proves that his initial thought is of evil creatures lurking the forest path. People’s emotions and actions can also show evil in the world, as shown through Young Goodman...
Cited: Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown”.1835. Great American Short Stories. Ed. Wallace and Mary Stegner. New York: Dell, 1985. 53 – 68. Print.
Wilson, Kathleen, ed. “Young Goodman Brown” Short Stories for kids. Detroit: Gale, 1997. 297 – 299. Print.
Plot summary: “Young Goodman Brown.” “Discovering Authors. Online Detroit: Gale, 2003. Discovering collection. Gale. High School. 3 Apr. 2009 http://find.galegroup.com /srcx/informar.do? & contentSet =GSRC&type =retrieve&tabID =T001&prodID = DC&docOD=E52101302205 &source=gale&secprod = DISC& userGroupName = S003 & version= 1.0>
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