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Literary Analysis Outline “Young Goodman Brown”

The author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, composed the short story, Young Goodman Brown, revolving around the character Goodman Brown. Though, in the end, the story seems unclear if it was a dream or a real-life experience, it reveals that Goodman Brown was not the only one consulting the devil. Goodman Brown viewed his wife’s Faith as a Christian who depended only on God; therefore, he hid her from visiting the forest. At the end of the story, this is not the case. After Goodman Brown realizes his wicked ways, he decides to turn from devil consultation. He decides to attend Party that is taking place at a nearby venue, only to realize that his wife Faith also consulted the devil. After realizing Faith’s behaviours, Goodman Brown finds himself alone in the forest and takes his way home. On his way home, he sees everyone as evil due to his previous experience and even refuses a blessing from the minister. On arriving at his house, Goodman Brown did not even greet his wife, considering what happened in the night, though unclear if it was a dream. This experience changes Goodman Brown’s life to that of fear and depression, and he does not trust anyone in his village. This paper explores the themes illustrated in the story, including fear of the forests, loss of innocence, and an eruption of morals.

On entering the forest area, Goodman Brown says that he fears the forest and continues by saying that no righteousness comes from the forest. In the story, Goodman Brown talks by himself, saying there could be an Indian devil at the back of every tree (Hawthorne 1). Not only Goodman Brown had these views about the forest but all Puritans. The Puritans described the forest as a place occupied by wild Indians. Goodman Brown walks through the forest cautioned because of his fear that the devil would appear to him at any moment. According to Hawthorne, “Goodman Brown says to himself that maybe the devil could be at his elbow” (Hawthorne 1). This instance indicates the degrees of fear in Goodman Brown. Goodman Brown is afraid until he gives in to the devil. After meeting the older man, he pleads that none of his family members came or would come to find satisfaction in the forest and later hides from the Deacon due to the fear of being recognized. The forest is described as an evil, scary, and gloomy place.

On the adventures, Goodman Brown loses his sense of innocence in his decisions. Instead of looking for other alternatives to solve his needs, Goodman Brown decides to meet the devil for help (Hawthorne 1). Though unclear if the events were a dream, they came from Goodman Brown’s head, depicting the evil side of Goodman Brown. Goodman Brown lost his innocence by taking the evil way of solving problems and considering the available alternatives. Goodman Brown’s choice is risky for him and ultimately facilitates his fall. According to Hawthorne, “Goodman Brown convinced Faith who let him go on with his plans, and he later takes a dull road, unlighted by the gloomiest trees of the forest which were almost in full contact to let a path between them and closed after he went past them” (Hawthorne 2). Deciding to leave the village for the forest indicated that he shuttered his innocence as a youth and now an adult. His decisions resulting from losing his innocence brought him to reality about the community. Whether a dream or an actual event, it is essential to say that Goodman Brown lost his innocence by taking the evil way of doing things.

The story of Young Goodman Brown is an actual example of the eruption of morals in the community. While Christians should submit to God, Faith, Goodman Brown’s wife, a well know Christian, is unveiled to confess to the people about her decision in the witch ceremony (Hawthorne 9). Goodman Brown could let Faith, his wife, learn about his new plans because he believed that she could intervene and prevent him, but this is not the case. Faith is also a devil consultant illustrating that she changed her ways from Christianity to witchcraft. According to Hawthorne, Goodman Brown hid from the Deacon and the Minister to prevent them from learning his behaviour (Hawthorne 5). This instance shows that Goodman Brown’s actions were immoral and could hold consequences if noticed, though that is not the case among the Puritans. Goodman Brown did not want anybody to recognize him in the forest, and he ensured that nobody was watching. Puritans are immoral because instead of being righteous by depending on God, they involve in witchcraft, an evil act.

In conclusion, the story Young Goodman Brown has throughout explained how the Puritans feared the forest, came to lose innocence and erupted their morals. The Puritans feared the forest, but they engaged in activities in weird places in a weird manner. The Puritans are hypocrites, as this reveals to Goodman brown. People should not be hypocrites but should decide on which way to lead. Therefore, they should consider not mixing Christianity with witchcraft because it is evil. People should consider the consequences before taking specific actions.

Work Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Young Goodman Brown. 1835,


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