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The Anti-Hero and “Young Goodman Brown” Anonymous College


What draws masses of fans to midnight premiers of the Batman movies? What aspect has made millions of people introduction readers of Bruce Wayne, and other figures comparable, such as the Punisher? They have no super powers, they must conceal their identities from nearly all they come in contact with, and within their stories they are hated by many and feared by all. Even in traditional literature, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”, the readers are inexplicably drawn to the title character in his mission, although he actively speaks with the shadowy figure of Lucifer himself. The primary aspect that makes these dark, hazardous males of action so appealing is that, above all else, they are human. They are real. We, as individuals all fall into sin and misery over and over again; that is what makes us people. We can relate to these darker, “real-life” vigilantes because we have been there before, even if it is not to the same level. Now, what do all these imaginary figures have in common? They valiantly fight to conserve others, to protect those who can’t safeguard themselves. And they also are dangerously near becoming the very thing that they resist … namely, the darkness. There is a reason that Batman is described as “the Dark Knight”, and that is due to the fact that he utilizes his internal discomfort, his inner darkness, so to speak, as a weapon to beat the enemies of great. He is a male tip-toeing the line in between good and wicked. The character of Goodman Brown is, like the Caped Crusader, a grand representation of the contemporary anti-hero. The dark hero is brought to this point by catastrophe, he welcomes the deep dark around him to enhance him, and yet he still handles to hold on to enough excellent to keep him sane.

Initially, what brings Brown to the very edge of darkness? The very same which brings every man to the point of desperation: gut-wrenching catastrophe. For Batman, it was losing his moms and dads in his youth that stimulated him on his way to ending up being the world’s greatest investigator. For Browne, it is the minute when he realizes that his Faith is participating in that heathen ceremony. Brown cries out in despair when he see’s one of Faith’s pink ribbons drift down from above. “My Faith is gone!” (Hawthorne 392) cries a disillusioned Brown. This is the exact same male that just a couple of paragraphs before devoutly mentioned “With Heaven above, and Faith below, I will yet stand firm versus the devil!” (391 ). The terms of “Faith” and “faith” are utilized nearly interchangeably in the text. While one describes Goodman Brown’s brand-new wife (Faith) and the other refers to belief and pursuit of Christ, they are one and the exact same to Brown. He even states at the beginning of the story how he will “hold on to her skirts and follow her to Heaven” (387 ). The title character puts all his hope for redemption in his spouse, despite the fact that at the start of the unique it is he who leaves her with a “present evil purpose” (387 ). He meets with Lucifer, but grows increasingly more resistant to him as they walk through the woods. Brown “really wants to leave the Devil’s snare” (Levy 1), and proves this by defending his household name and lastly, after seeing Satan and goody Cloyse reverse, he declines to go on additional. Once again, he uses Faith as his rock, stating “Is that any reason that I should stop my Faith.?” (Hawthorne 390). Faith is everything and more to the protagonist, just as moms and dads are whatever and more to a young, reliant kid. Now that his other half has actually strolled down the broad course to damage, Goodman Brown loses the one thing in his life that means the most to him. And it pushes him over the edge, as he becomes “maddened with misery” and begins the improvement into something more frightening than the character of Satan himself.

What gives Batman his power? What assists him beat the vilest opponents of the criminal underworld, such as the Joker, Bane, and Two-Face? Yes, he has vast fortunes and innovation, a brilliant mind, and a strong body, but Bruce Wayne’s true strength comes from his ability to harness the darkness and fear within him. In essence, Batman is the face of fear itself, and Goodman Brown ends up being that method also. After despairing, he became “the chief scary of the scene” (392 ), as he grapples the line between sanity and insanity. He fiercely weeps, “Come witch, come wizard, come Indian powwow, come devil himself! And here comes goodman Brown” (392 ). He comprehends that he has gone to the dark side, that he has actually ended up being the really thing that Puritans are supposed to be against but he does not care. He even likens himself to the devil, saying “You may as well fear them as he fears you!” (392 ). Brown was no saint, as he began walking down the Devil’s path at the very beginning of the tale, however reluctant and eventually bold he ended up being. However it was when he lost all hope, as gone over in the previous paragraph, that he ended up being a “demoniac” speeding among the dark forest to the heathen ceremony. And there is no coincidence that the setting is a pitch black forest in the middle of the night. The forest represents “the deceit and darkness of guy’s heart” (Soler 1). This is particularly real of Brown’s heart after he despairs, when he catches the darkness of the world, and uses up the devil’s personnel. The woods are a terrifying location for a Puritan, full of threats such as monsters and Indians. Yet, Brown tosses himself recklessly through the forest. He descended down this route “with a disappearance of self” (Soler 1), and Brown certainly loses his own identity, ending up being a monster. In some cases, in order to finest the darkness, it is necessary to become the darkness, to end up being the most frightening thing possible.

Right when all seems lost, for both the Caped Crusader and goodman Brown, there is something that brings them back from giving in totally to the darkness; it keeps them from plunging over the cliff’s edge beyond just the “important iniquity of humanity” (Humma 425). All males are sinners at heart, but when a male caves in to the sin of all the world around him, it is incredibly difficult to know when to draw the line. For Batman, it is his guideline to never eliminate, no matter how repellent the criminal. For Brown, it is the realization that his precious Faith can be saved. Without that guideline, Batman is the exact same as the street punk he battles against, and without Faith, Brown is, as said earlier, on the very same level as Satan himself, caught in “an endless cycle of suffering” (McCabe 1), as he unfortunately finds himself in at the end of the story. After Brown does not see Faith in attendance, he returns into his own as “hope entered into his heart” (Hawthorne 393). He starts to realize that maybe he was afraid of nothing, as his cherished Faith is not amongst the heathen company at all. However, he has actually concerned close to the fire, so to speak, and when the voice of the devil beckons, he steps forward to join the group, “by the sympathy of all that was wicked in his heart” (Hawthorne 393). Brown became evil to combat the evil that threatened his new partner, but he seems to have strayed too near the edge of that unsafe cliff. When it is revealed that Faith is the other “convert”, he stresses as they stand there. He calls out to his love, telling her to “Look up into Heaven and resist the Wicked One!” (Hawthorne 395). When he returns to the town after the actual or thought of headache, Brown has no faith left, as he strolls by his spouse without a 2nd glance. He has lost the thing that he defended: Faith, the one who he would hold on to and follow to paradise. The goodman became a version of wicked incarnate to conserve her, however he is far too late. Since of this, he is destined to stay in a place “individuals can not trust themselves, their neighbors” (McCabe 1), and this “can not produce an environment where faith exists” (McCabe 1). Where Batman’s guideline keeps him from crossing the line since it is constantly there, Brown lost the only reason why he went so far down that dark path of sin and devilry in the first place. He utilized the ways, however got absolutely nothing but heartache and suffering in return. There is the real disaster of this tale … the man who literally did everything and more to conserve someone (or something) he enjoyed and stopped working anyhow.

There is really nothing brand-new under the sun. The same reason why Batman is so popular today is why the title character of “Young Goodman Brown” was and still is so popular, specifically the dark, real-life hero aspect. These are males we can connect and touch due to the fact that they are so human. All of us have battles and all of us have a dark side. The important things that simultaneously pulls us in and pushes us, as readers and movie-goers, away is the easy fact that Batman and Brown are not scared to use this dark side for excellent. Whether it’s conserving Gotham from the clutches of Mr. Freeze or the Penguin, or desperately attempting to rescue the love of someone’s life from damnation and the clutches of Satan himself, sometimes it is essential to combat fire with fire, to wrestle with hell utilizing the satanic forces inside you.

Works Mentioned

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown.” 1835. Volume B: 1820-1865. Ed. Nina Bayum and Robert S. Levine. New York City: W.W. Norton and Co., 2012. 386-95. Print.

Humma, John B. “‘Young Goodman Brown’ and the Failure of Hawthorne’s Uncertainty.” Colby Quarterly 9.8 (1971 ): 425-31. Colby Quarterly. Web. 21 Sept. 2013. <

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