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Young Goodman Brown and Other Hawthorne Short Stories Summary and Analysis of Wakefield



At the start of the story, Hawthorne/the narrator describes a story he checked out when in a paper or magazine about a male who leaves his better half for 20 years however lives, all this time, just a block away from her. The male observed his better half frequently, and only returned after his affairs had actually been settled and memory of him had actually passed. He simply returned house, resumed life, and worked as a loyal hubby for the rest of their lives.

One October night, a male named Wakefield tells his other half that he is going on a journey, and will be back for dinner on Friday. Instead of going on a journey, however, he ventures just to a house one street away. In the morning, he considers his next step, realizing that his purpose is not well specified. He wonders about what is taking place at home in his lack, and questions what will come of the matters in which he was once the central figure.

He walks by his old house, but feels strangely detached from it, as if he had been away for a long time, and it had actually changed in his lack. He starts to live a separate life, purchases a disguise and grows determined to keep away from his home until his wife is “scared half to death”. On several celebrations he goes by his house, seeing her grow paler and paler. One day, a physician visits the home; from afar, Wakefield questions if his spouse will pass away. However, she recuperates, and when again Wakefield believes that she will no longer long for him. Ten years pass.

One day, Wakefield and his other half, now both in aging, pass one another on the streets of London. Their hands touch and they look into each other’s eyes, however the crowd brings them away. His wife continues strolling into church, although she pauses to recall at the street. Wakefield, on the other hand, runs back to his home, and weeps out that he is mad. Life has passed him by.

Finally, twenty years after his departure, Wakefield is taking his popular walk towards his old house when he sees a comfortable fire in the second flooring and the figure of his wife. The heat of your house appeared starkly contrasted to the rainy, windy road on which he strolled. Wakefield strolls into his house and resumes his old way of living.

Hawthorne/the narrator leaves the reunited couple at the limit, and recommends that: “In the middle of the seeming confusion of our strange world, people are so perfectly adjusted to a system” and “by stepping aside for a minute, a guy exposes himself to an afraid threat of losing his place forever”.


Hawthorne takes a real story, summarized in the beginning paragraphs, and attempts to analyze the topic through the imaginary character Wakefield. He attempts to discover the thoughts residing in the head of a guy who escaped from house for twenty years.

Although Wakefield’s actions are undoubtedly out of the ordinary and couple of men may in fact practice such unusual actions, the fear of replacement and concept of fleing from home is a typical youth fantasy. Certainly, Wakefield’s actions make him look like a kid, fleing from house just to see just how much his wife will miss him. He “discovers himself curious to know the development of matters in your home – how his exemplary better half will endure her widowhood … how the little sphere of animals and scenarios in which he was a main things will be affected by his removal”. A sense of childish narcissism and selfishness tint these words; Wakefield sees himself at the center of many lives, and desires to see how his disappearance will affect those around him. His selfishness verge on ruthlessness as he actually wants to disrupt his other half; even after witnessing her fall ill, he still refuses to return house.

Some authors have actually characterized his dream as a “deep dream we all have sometimes: to be unnoticeable, to observe the occasions of the world without the contamination of one’s presence”. In Hawthorne’s time, roaming the streets of London “unnoticed and unknown” was a very genuine possibility. Seclusion is for that reason both a desire in the hearts of all men and a reality that some, if required to these drastic measures, can accomplish.

But, removing oneself from society comes at an expense– Wakefield loses his individuality, melting into the streets of London. And, a guy who turns away from social responsibilities might discover that he is, indeed, changeable. As Hawthorne composes, “stepping aside for a minute, a man exposes himself to a fearful threat of losing his location permanently”.

At the end of the story, it appears as if Wakefield reenters his home and continues with life. Readers, however, can just speculate regarding what ends up being of Wakefield– whether he is happily received by his better half, or lives forever in solitude– after his prolonged lack.

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