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Young Goodman Brown and Other Hawthorne Short Stories Lesson Plan


This edition of Young Goodman Brown and Other Short Stories includes seven stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne’s short stories were originally released in papers and periodicals, and then were collected into volumes of short stories. The stories in this unit, and in this edition, were composed between 1832 and 1850, and come from three of Hawthorne’s original narrative collections.

The most well-known and engaging of the stories in this unit is “Young Goodman Brown.” Originally published in 1835, the story takes place near Salem, MA, and reflects the faith and existential crises Young Goodman Brown experiences throughout a relatively mundane errand. When Young Goodman Brown takes a walk through the woods, he faces a series of events that trigger him to question his religious faith, his rely on his good friends and neighbors, and his own morality.

The majority of Hawthorne’s narratives and other works take place in Puritan New England, where Hawthorne’s family was from. In numerous of his stories, Hawthorne describes witchcraft and the mention the effect of the Salem Witch Trials, and Puritan culture more broadly, on individuals and culture. In general, the stories in this collection have a number of typical styles that develop throughout Hawthorne’s writings: the conflict in between great and evil in human nature; the hypocricy found in Puritan culture; the obstacles of over-reliance on science and technology versus faith; and conflict between how individuals provide themselves versus their true natures.

Secret Aspects of Young Goodman Brown and Other Hawthorne Short Stories


In these stories, there are frequently threatening tones of foreboding, as well as empathy for the characters found within the stories. There is typically a coexistence in between the magical and the mundane, or the stunning and the ominous. Hawthorne, in these stories, has respect for science and researchers, but likewise warns the reader about threats and ethical predicaments that scientific experimentation can lead to. Hawthorne also empathizes with dreamers and innovative individuals existing unappreciated in the world.


“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”- Most of the story takes place in Dr. Heidegger’s study, and the story ends with four of the characters traveling to Florida to search for the Fountain of Youth.

“The Birthmark”- This story centers on Aylmer’s laboratory.

“Young Goodman Brown”- This story takes place in Salem, MA.

“Rappaccini’s Daughter”- This story takes place in Padua, Italy.

“Roger Malvin’s Burial”- This story occurs in New England. It begins with Roger Malvin and Reuben Bourne pulling back from “Lovell’s Fight” of 1725.

“The Artist of the Beautiful”- This story focuses around the watchmaking store of Owen Warland.

“My Kinsman, Major Molineux”- This story occurs in a New England town on the cusp of the American Transformation.


The stories are, for the a lot of part, told straightforwardly from the third individual viewpoint of an omniscient narrator. There are a few exceptions to this, as follows. Initially, at the end of “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” there is an addition of a note at the end of the story from Hawthorne himself, composed in September of 1860, specifying that, despite allegations of taking the idea for the story from Alexandre Dumas, Hawthorne wrote “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” prior to Alexandre Dumas composed his novel with resemblances to Hawthorne’s story. Likewise, “Rappaccini’s Child” begins with an introduction providing a critical overview of the stories of an author called Mr. de L’Aubépine (aubepine is another word for hawthorn), and describing that the story that will follow is a translation of among his stories. “Roger Malvin’s Burial” also has an intro, which positions the story in the historical context of “Lovell’s Battle” of 1725 and states that, while names have actually been changed, occurrences in stories that have actually been told about the “Lovell’s Battle” retreat. Lastly, “My Kinsman, Major Molineux” includes an introduction, not separated from the bulk of the story, that puts the story in the historical context of the edge of the American Transformation.

Character development

“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”- Over the course of this story, Dr. Heidegger sees his buddies fall back emotionally as they grow momentarily younger as a result of drinking water from the Eternal youth. Based on his observations, he chooses that he enjoys enough without having partaken of the water. His good friends, on the other hand, decide to travel to Florida to look for the water at its source.

“The Birthmark”- Aylmer, a researcher who marries a beautiful woman, discovers that he believes that his other half’s face is marred by the little birthmark she has in the shape of a tiny hand. His other half, Georgiana, chooses to let her husband attempt to get rid of the birthmark, if the elimination of it will make him pleased, even if there is a threat of danger to herself. Over the course of the story, Georgiana ends up being progressively anxious and insecure since of Aylmer’s issue about her birthmark; Aylmar, on the other hand, has an abrupt realization at the end of the story, when he sees that his desire for experimentation and interest in his other half’s little flaw has triggered her demise.

“Young Goodman Brown”- Young Goodman Brown, over the course of the story, goes from having a generally positive and trusting nature to having a worldview of bitterness and cynicism. Being exposed to the hypocrisy of individuals around him, especially of those individuals he has actually relied on and appreciated, completely modifies the method which Young Goodman Brown sees the world.

“Roger Malvin’s Burial”- Reuben Bourne is taken in with guilt over not providing Roger Malvin a complete burial, despite the reality that, by leaving Roger Malvin, Reuben Bourne has honored Roger Malvin’s wishes. His guilt is intensified when he does not tell Dorcas, Roger Malvin’s daughter, the reality about Roger Malvin’s death. Reuben weds Dorcas, the two have a child, and, as he continues to cope with the guilt of his trick, Reuben gradually becomes embittered and antisocial. His guilt, he feels, is expiated when he accidentally shoots his kid at the website of Roger Malvin’s death.

“Rappaccini’s Child”- Giovanni falls for Beatrice, the child of Dr. Rappaccini. She has actually spent her life tending to poisonous flowers grown and studied by her dad, and, as an outcome, has actually ended up being dangerous to others. When he finds himself becoming dangerous as an outcome of contact with her, Giovanni ends up being upset and acquires a remedy to the toxin, which he and Beatrice both take. Beatrice passes away as a result of taking the remedy.

“The Artist of the Gorgeous”- Owen Warland is a delicate and intelligent boy who is apprenticed to a watchmaker and eventually takes control of the watchmaking practice. He invests his life looking for and attempting to develop the Beautiful, while most of the people around him are content with the ordinary. At the end of the story, Owen discovers what he is looking for, the essence of the Beautiful, through the creation of a complex mechanical butterfly.

“My Kinsman, Major Molineux”- In the story, Robin, a young man, pertains to a New England town searching for his kinsman, Major Molineux, in order to get assist from Significant Molineux in starting in life. Over the course of the story, Robin experiences aggravation in his search, up until he sees Significant Molineux, tarred and feathered, showed before the laughing populace of the town. Robin discovers himself, in a minute of cognitive dissonance, swept away by the crowd, joining them in laughter at his kinsman. The next day, Robin is dealt with to leave the town, chagrined at his part in the events of the previous night and persuaded that his kinsman would not want to see him now.


There are numerous overarching styles that appear in Hawthorne’s narratives. These styles consist of love, sacrifice, guilt, the function of science, and hypocricy, all of which more broadly connect to the struggle between great and evil in human nature.

Love and Sacrifice

In “Rappaccini’s Daughter” and “The Birthmark,” beautiful/unusual females discover themselves sacrificing their lives for love. Beatrice in “Rappaccini’s Daughter” first ends up being poisonous as a result of dutifully tending her dad’s plants, and then passes away after consuming Giovanni’s antidote to the poison. In “The Birthmark,” Georgiana senses that Aylmer’s efforts to rid her of her birthmark might cause catastrophe, but picks to trust him, wanting him to be happy and wishing to be a good other half, and dies as a result of Aylmer’s experiments.


“Roger Malvin’s Burial” and “Young Goodman Brown” both handle the methods which regret can be an insidious, character-changing force. In both stories, young men find themselves saddled with a guilt that gradually changes, embitters, and disillusions them.

The Role of Science

“The Birthmark,” “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter” all issue scientific experiments spilling over into daily life. Hawthorne’s stories check out the problems that develop in these cases.


In “Young Goodman Brown,” Young Goodman Brown experiences throughout one night all of the hypocrisy that exists in his town, in which he had actually formerly had faith and where he had actually felt happy and secure. He then invests the rest of his life cynically avoiding the people around him.


Hawthorne’s stories are brimming with meaning. Some symbols repeat themselves in numerous stories, such as the butterfly that appears in both “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” and “The Artist of the Beautiful.” In both stories, butterflies appear as signs of appeal and hope and, in both stories, the butterflies are ruined. In “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” the butterfly returns to a state of old age once the impacts of the water from the Fountain of Youth diminish. It merely completes its briefly cut off and extended life process. In “The Artist of the Beautiful,” an elaborately lovely mechanical butterfly is smashed, however its spirit survives on in the heart and mind of its developer.

In addition to specific items, names in Hawthorne’s stories, such as Faith in “Young Goodman Brown,” can frequently be symbolic. At the start of “Young Goodman Brown,” Faith strives to persuade her other half, Young Goodman Brown, not to go to the woods and to stick with her and, throughout the story, Young Goodman Brown holds on to ideas of Faith as a method to consistent himself and guarantee himself that both she, his wife, and what her name represents, Young Goodman Brown’s faith in God, his religious beliefs, his society, and individuals around him, will be there for him the next day. During the course of his night in the woods, Young Goodman Brown finds himself despairing in Faith, both his other half and the whole idea of faith in anything.


“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”- The story climaxes as the characters who have partaken of the water from the Eternal youth begin to feel its refreshing effects. At this moment, all of the characters’ youthful relationships and dramas begin to reappear, and Dr. Heidegger can make his conclusions about whether consuming the Eternal youth water is beneficial.

“The Birthmark”- The story climaxes as Aylmer finds out and uses the tincture that removes Georgiana’s birthmark. After this moment, the action begins to solve itself as the tincture first removes Georgiana’s birthmark and then triggers her death.

“Young Goodman Brown”- The climax of this story is the routine in the forest in which Young Goodman Brown is exposed to the hypocrisy of all of his next-door neighbors. After this point, Young Goodman Brown’s life is completely altered, and he spends the rest of his life negative and distant from the people around him.

“Rappaccini’s Child”- The story climaxes as Giovanni hangs around with Beatrice and finds himself becoming poisonous, also. At this point, Giovanni embarks on a course of occasions that lead to the death of Beatrice when both she and Giovanni take in the antidote to the harmful flowers Beatrice is surrounded by.

“Roger Malvin’s Burial”- The climax comes when Reuben Bourne shoots at the noise he hears in the woods as he travels through with his household. Events have been constructing to this minute, and, after this, the action of the story resolves and Reuben, though mourning, discovers peace after the death of his boy.

“The Artist of the Gorgeous”- The story climaxes when Annie breaks Owen’s equipment, causing him to initially pull away and fall apart and then find out the solution he is seeking. As much as this point, there is a concern about whether Owen and Annie are ideal for each other. At this moments, Owen chooses that they are not.

“My Kinsman, Major Molineux”- The story climaxes as Robin lastly comes across Significant Molineux. Up to this point, Robin has actually been searching for Significant Molineux. As soon as he discovers him, the story reaches a point of no return, Robin’s relationship with the Major shifts, and Robin must make choices based on the result of events.


This edition contains seven of Hawthorne’s narratives, drawn from the following of Hawthorne’s collections: “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” from Twice-Told Tales; “The Birthmark,” “Young Goodman Brown,” “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” “Roger Malvin’s Burial,” and “The Artist of the Stunning” from Mosses from an Old Manse; and “My Kinsman, Major Molineux” from The Snow-Image, and Other Twice-Told Tales.

Although Hawthorne’s short stories differ in topic and length, they all tend to follow the very same basic structure. An initial main character starts the story with a certain understanding about the people in his life and the world around him, which is typically highlighted by the lead character’s close relationships and occupation. Over the course of the story, Hawthorne slowly constructs a sense of harshness or worry, both in the mind of the character and in the minds of the readers, as the events occur that start to weaken and contradict the lead character’s worldview, beliefs, or understanding of truth. Then, those events cap, showing the main character at last that his formerly held beliefs and understandings had some sort of tragic defect or weakness, which is now causing a massive shift in the character’s life or truth. This frequently results in a terrible occurence or loss of some sort. Finally, the character must find a method to reconcile the two different realities of the world that he has actually now realized exist.

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