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



Young Goodman Brown, a young and innocent man, bids farewell to his young partner, Faith. Faith asks him to stay, but Goodman Brown states he should leave, just for the night. He endeavors into the bleak forest of Salem, and is soon approached by a man of about fifty, to whom he bears an odd similarity. His buddy wore simple clothes, but brought a staff that looked like a fantastic black snake and appeared to move like a living serpent. Time and again, Goodman Brown protests the trip, firmly insisting that he should reverse. But, his companion tells him that his dad and grandpa had actually walked along the same course, along with other essential townspeople, such as the governor. Goodman Brown continues to follow. Along the path, they see a woman, Goody Cloyse, who taught Goodman Brown his catechism. His companion begins to look like the devil, while the woman, a witch. The personnel, too, appears to take life.

After a while, Goodman Brown sits down, figured out to not go any daddy. His buddies go on without him. As he sits, Goodman Brown believes he hears the minister and Deacon Gookin on horseback talking about the night’s meeting and a girl who would be taken into communion that night. Goodman Brown starts to hear voices, and among them, the lamentations of Faith. He yells her name, but hears just a echoes, and after that silence. A pink ribbon– Faith’s ribbon– flutters down kind above. “Maddened with despair”, Goodman Brown rushes forth into the forest, chuckling louder and louder, till he reaches the event. There, he sees an altar, surrounded by 4 blazing trees. Many of the town’s most honorable members were present, as were some of the least welcomed– the sinners and bad guys. Goodman Brown is led to the altar, where a cloaked female figure is also led. A dark figure prepares to welcome them into the fold, indicating the crowd behind them – the crowd Young Goodman Brown had reverenced from youth. The figure exposed them all as sinners, noting that “wicked is the nature of humanity. Evil must be your only happiness”. The cloaked woman is revealed to be Faith. Prior to the figure could lay the mark of baptism on Goodman Brown, he contacted us to Faith to “appreciate Paradise, and resist the wicked one.” Instantly, he finds himself alone in the forest.

The next morning, Goodman Brown arrives back in town, mystified about the events from the previous night. He runs into lots of people he saw in the forest– the Deacon, Goody Cloyse – all acting as if absolutely nothing had happened. He sees Faith, however passes without acknowledging her. Since the “night of that afraid dream” Goodman Brown became a dark and gloomy guy, who saw absolutely nothing but blasphemy all around him.


Commonly understood themes in Young Goodman Brown have actually consisted of the pervasiveness and secrecy of sin and evil alive within all people, and the hypocrisy of Puritanism. The most obvious reading is that Brown, an innocent and naive fellow, is messed up after finding hypocrisy in his religious faith (embodied in his partner, Faith). His wife, as was typically the case in Puritan New England, was viewed as a representation of the domestic sphere and a pure being untainted by the evils of the world, so pure that she might even save her husband. Goodman Brown puts her on a pedestal, as he does his religious beliefs, however her look in the forest leaves him without wish for redemption and his ultimate estrangement from her signals his true estrangement from God.

A comparable reading of the story revolves around the resemblances between the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the fall of Brown and Faith. The devil bears a personnel with a snake on it, reminiscent of the snake that told Adam and Eve to taste the fruit from the prohibited tree. Resulted in sin through curiosity, Adam and Eve lose their innocence after following the devil. Likewise, Goodman Brown views the devil, in addition to other notable members of the community, heading towards the gathering. He endeavors into the forest despite Faith’s caution, driven by curiosity and the devil’s appeals, just as Eve neglected God’s command to avoid the forbidden fruit. Brown’s understanding that “Evil is the nature of humanity” pollutes his relationships with his faith and everyone in the area.

Another reading is that Brown’s experience is originated from an internalized sin. His journey into the forest was, in itself, a sinful act. He well understood that his mission was wicked, and his acts impure, yet was surprised to find others whom he reverenced following the very same course. In the end, he breaks from the group, attempting to eliminate himself of sin. But, the effects of sin stay, permanently after tainting his opinion of good and wicked. As one author writes, “This is not a story of the disillusionment that concerns a person when he finds that numerous allegedly spiritual and virtuous people are really wicked: it is, rather, a story of a male whose sin led him to think about all other people wicked. Brown came eventually to judge others by himself: he thought them wicked and hypocritical because he was sinful and hypocritical himself.” (McKeithan, 96) The idea of sin in everyone, consisting of Goodman Brown, is supported by the chameleon-like character of the Devil. By taking the shape of Brown’s father, the devil shows that evil can live within any person, even Young Goodman Brown himself.

Still others examine the possibility that Brown’s experience was simply a dream, and that all men fear that all males are, at the most fundamental level, evil. The story may be purposefully unclear, well balanced perfectly in between the great and the evil, as the story’s starting an end are in direct opposition. (Fogle) Lastly, the story has actually likewise been thought about an assessment of nineteenth-century gender functions and the issue that other halves would trespass on their other half’s existence in the public sphere. Offense of this separation is present in the story, as Faith leaves her spouse with a kiss on the doorstep, but then reemerges at the gathering. (Keil)

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