Fate Or Face? Young Goodman Brown
“Young Goodman Brown” is short story about a young Puritan male who sets out on a journey through the forest to witness a witch ceremony, leaving his other half, Faith. He should withstand the devil’s temptation and go back to her at sunrise, as promised. On his journey Brown experiences occasions that alter his way of thinking permanently. This story is centered around the idea of Faith. Faith is utilized to reveal the degree to which religious beliefs can become the driving force in one’s life. Faith is specified as an “unquestionable belief in and loyalty to God” (Guralmick 502).
Faith can manage one’s behavior and manipulate one’s mind in the exact same method that one’s extreme face or pride can. Goodman let his extreme pride in himself ruin his relationship with his other half and community, and his ability to worship God. Goodman Brown goes into the woods to consult with the devil, therefore, he is questioning his faith from the start. He steps away from his faith for a short period of time to go on his journey stating that, “After this one night, I’ll hold on to her (Faith) skirts and follow her to Paradise” (Hawthorne 1).
This is one example where Goodman’s extreme pride is available in to play. He feels that he can do this sinful deed due to the fact that he assured himself he would repent later on. When his buddy, the devil, informs him of his late arrival Brown replies, “Faith kept me back awhile” (Hawthorne 1). This can be taken as his faith to God postponed his meeting to the devil, however his pride permitted him to go. As he gets much deeper into the forest, Goodman Brown’s faith starts to reduce.
He doubts that he will be able to resist temptation. He reveals his faith by stating, “My father never ever went into the woods? or did his father before him. We have been a race of truthful males and excellent Christians, considering that the days of the martyrs” (Hawthorne 2). Then the devil reduces Brown’s faith by responding, “I assisted your grandfather, the constable, when he lashed the Quaker lady so wisely through the streets of Salem. And it was I that brought your father a pitch-pine knot, kindled at my own hearth, to set fire to an Indian town, in King Philip’s war. (Hawthorne 2). Brown still stands by his faith even after the devil notifies him of his behaviors with the deacon.
Brown sees his old catechism teacher, Goody Cloyse, befriending the devil and speaking of witchery. She accepts the devil’s staff and continues through the woods to the communion. Young Goodman Brown’s faith is not ruined yet. He reveals his faith is more powerful than ever when he refused to go on and he says, “With Heaven above and faith listed below, I will yet stand firm against the devil” (Hawthorne 5). Goodman’s pride begins to develop as he thinks of how strong he is for declining the devil’s temptations.
When Goodman hears Deacon Gookin talking about the communion, he “appreciated the sky, questioning whether there really was a Heaven above him” (Hawthorne 5). This is where Goodman experiences his epiphany. After believing he hears Faith, his better half’s, voice and sees her pink ribbon flying through the air, Brown loses all faith and says that there is “no great on earth” (Hawthorne 5). Goodman then believes he is strong enough to conquer and damage evil. He again exercises his conceit by saying, “Come witch, come wizard, come Indian powwow, come devil himself.
You may as well fear him as he fear you” (Hawthorne 6). When Goodman witnesses the communion and his other half, Faith, participating in its wicked involvement he is overcome with a feeling of hopelessness. Goodman feels Faith is now wicked similar to the remainder of the townspeople. When Brown returns to the town he absolutely shows not just his loss of faith however his severe conceit. He shows disgust toward the minister, his old catechism teacher and even his spouse. He thinks he is better than his neighborhood and is the only one who isn’t a devil worshiper.
Goodman showed his conceit and extreme pride when he overlooked the Deacon and his Faith’s greetings and snatched the little kid far from Goody Cloyse. Goodman still assumes that his neighborhood has a monopoly on virtue. When the devil is describing the wrong doings of his forefathers, Goodman doesn’t comprehend that as long as his own individuals are unkind toward those who do not conform to the Puritan idea of goodness, they serve the devil every day of their lives. He naively believed that his fellow Puritans were in fact “pure”. The possibility that ruining the towns of Indians, or burning witches, could be evil never ever occurred to him.
He thought that it was just what “excellent” Christians did. After witnessing the witch’s communion, Goodman refused to cry. His lack of tears reveals that he has no pity or compassion for the sinners; therefore, he can not be a true Christian himself. If he followed his heart, as Christians should, he would have had the ability to forgive and have compassion with the townspeople, however rather, he listened to his pride and isolated himself from them. Not able to accept the idea that the capacity for wicked depend on everybody, even himself, Goodman picked his own damnation and loss of faith.
It is his pride in himself that keeps him from seeing his own faults. Consider it, what was Goodman carrying out in the forest? The exact same thing all the other townspeople were doing. Did Goodman in fact lose his faith? If he had real faith would he have questioned the presence of Heaven and God? It was his pride that kept him separated from his neighborhood. Brown passes away a lonely and miserable death; buried with “no hopeful verse upon his tombstone; for his dying hour was gloom” (Hawthorne 9). This story proves that faith is not manifested in actions, but in concepts.