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Faith in “Young Goodman Brown”

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Faith in “Young Goodman Brown”

Although relatively new, as verified by Brown when he asks Faith, “Dost thou question me already, and we but three months married?” (Hawthorne) Brown’s relationship with both his spouse and faith can be seen as strong and stable. Brown tends to mainly handle small temptations which all of mankind need to come across.

His journey into the forest particularly represents to Brown a short-term breaking point in the relationships as seen when he states, “After this one night, I’ll cling to her [his wife, Faith] skirts and follow her to heaven”. Hawthorne) Fans associated with a sect of the Christian faith often discover themselves justifying their wicked behavior by promising God that it will be a solo event. When Brown first comes across the Devil in the forest, he responds to the Devil’s reproach for his lateness, saying “Faith kept me back some time” (Hawthorne). Brown really desires to get away from the journey with the Devil.

He sustains the exposure of truth that the deacons and selectmen of his town which he previously kept in high regard traveled the very same path in which he was on; and the discovery that Goody Cloyse, the lady who had taught him his catechism, is a witch does not influence his decision to reverse: “What if a sorrowful old woman do select to go to the devil when I thought she was going to paradise: is that any reason that I should quit my dear Faith and go after her? (Hawthorne)

His naivety and innocence convinces him at this time that he will return to town with a clear conscious and live life “so purely and sweetly now, in the arms of Faith!” (Hawthorne) As he travels much deeper into the forest towards the Witches Sabbath, Brown calls 3 times to Faith for assistance, and it is not till he notices the pink ribbon from Faith’s cap fluttering from the sky and caught on a branch of a tree that he discards all hope, calling out “My Faith is gone” (Hawthorne). When Brown finally reaches the meeting of the townspeople, his hope increases again since his other half Faith, whom he anticipates to see is not there.

Nevertheless, she soon unfortunately joins him and the others whom are about to go through initiation. They are the “just pair, as it seemed who were yet thinking twice on the verge of wickedness in the dark world” (Hawthorne). They gaze at each other in frightened anticipation, and for the last time Brown calls out for aid: “Faith! Faith! … Admire paradise, and withstand the wicked one” (Hawthorne). But “whether Faith obeyed he knew not” (Hawthorne). The whole circumstance of the witches’ Sabbath vanishes in an immediate, and Brown finds himself alone in the wilderness.

Whether we think of the experience of the witches’ Sabbath as a dream or a “genuine” occurence, it should be said that the event changed Brown’s life permanently. Although he goes house to Faith, and the town remains the same as it was prior to the journey, Brown’s perception of it differs immensely. He dislikes the clergy of the church and mocks their sermons. He no longer sees Faith the very same any longer for when she goes to him in the street he “looked sternly and regretfully into her face, and passed on without a welcoming” (Hawthorne). The revalation of truth that Brown experiences in the forest that night evaluates his faith and eventually his faith is lost.

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