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Analysis of the Theme of Escape as Illustrated by Nathaniel Hawthorne in Young Goodman Brown and Washington Irving’s, Rip Van Winkle


The Wilderness in Young Goodman Brown and Rip Van Winkle

In the both of the 2 stories, Young Goodman Brown and Rip Van Winkle, the main characters are typical and innocent individuals who stray into the woods, then go to sleep or go into a hypnotic trance. When the characters return from the woods, the world appears to have changed and they feel lost within their own community. These stories represent the to the wilderness as a location of secret and escape, that is rather remote from society and reality.

In Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne, goodman Brown leaves town to enter into the forest. The woods he walks into is very erie, described as being “darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which hardly stood aside to let the narrow course creep through, and closed immediately behind” (Hawthorne 606). Goodman Brown was likewise fearful that there may have been “a devilish Indian behind every tree” (Hawthorne 606). Along the method, goodman Brown encounters a guy who seems to be anticipating him, since he informs Brown” ‘You are late'” (Hawthorne 606). Goodman Brown replies stating that” ‘Faith kept me back some time,'” (Hawthorne 606), and this recommends that goodman Brown may have been attempting to leave or escape his spouse by going into the forest. A lot of the language utilized to explain the wilderness in the story makes it seem like a mystified and yielded place, that goodman Brown uses as an escape from his wife and society. He later on awakened the next morning, not understanding whether what he saw in the forest was real or not. “Had goodman Brown gone to sleep in the forest, and just dream a wild dream of a witch-meeting?” (Hawthorne 614), and this more widens the space between the forest and truth.

In Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving, Rip is a simple going person who “automatically scrambles to among the greatest parts of the Kaatskill mountains” (Irving 459), in order to avoid his bothersome other half. Rip was continuously troubled by “the horrors of Dame Van Winkle” (Irving 459), so he decided to escape into the forest in addition to his canine. Along the method, Rip, likewise to goodman Brown, comes across somebody who seems to be anticipating him, when he hears his name being called. Rip takes a trip with his brand-new associate through the mountains, and Rip heard “far-off thunder, that appeared to issue out of a deep gorge, or rather cleft between lofty rocks, toward which their course performed” (Irving 460). When Rip and his partner come to an amphitheatre, “brand-new items of wonder presented themselves” (Irving 460). This language makes the wilderness look like a strange location with new things to be discovered in every location. Rip gets drunk on too much liquor and doesn’t awake till twenty years later. Once he goes back to society, he is lost and feels alienated.” ‘I was myself last night, but I went to sleep on the mountain, and they have actually changed my gun, and every thing’s changed, and I’m changed, and I can’t tell what’s my name, or who I am!” (Irving 464). After Rip leaves the mountains, he comes back to his house, but it is not the exact same anymore, since Rip was isolated far from his society long during a time of quick modification, and he wasn’t there to see the modifications.

In both stories, extreme modifications strike the main character’s perception of society upon their return from the wilderness. The wilderness is practically like a separated world from society; things take place in one location however the other place appears entirely unaffected. Both authors use language that depicts the wild as a conceded and mystical location, and is practically remote from reality.

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