Allegory of Young Goodman Brown
The story, “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne has a lot of allegories. It is a moral story that is told through the corruption of a religious person. Goodman Brown is a Puritan minister who lets his pride and belief in himself interfere with his relations with the community after he meets with the devil, which causes him to live the life of not knowing who to trust or believe in his own community. In the beginning when Faith, Brown’s wife, asks him not to go.
Brown says to her “My love and my Faith … this one night I must tarry away from thee”. DiYanni 273) When he says his “love” and his “Faith”, he is talking to his wife, but he is also talking to his “faith” to God.
He is headed into the woods to meet with the Devil, and by doing so he leaves his faith in God with his wife. His pride made him feel that he can sin and meet with the Devil because of this promise that he made to himself.
This promise is not without irony because when Goodman Brown came back he no longer looks at his wife with the same faith he had before. When Brown left and met with the Devil, he declares that the reason he was late was because “Faith kept me back awhile. ( DiYanni 273) From talking to the devil Brown says that he comes from a “race of honest men and good Christians” ( DiYanni 274) .
The Devil then pointed out his father and grandfather when they were flogging a woman or burning an Indian village. These words were ironic because of the bad things that they had done and it shows that he does not come from “good Christians. ” ( DiYanni 274) The devil continued trying to convince Brown, but he did not give in because of his wife, “Faith”. And because of her, he couldn’t continue.
The Devil agrees with him and tells him to turn back to prevent that “Faith should come to any harm” like the old woman in front of them on the path. ( DiYanni 274) The turning point of the story starts when Brown’s is confuse about his faith because the woman on the path is the woman who “taught him his catechism in youth, and was still his moral and spiritual adviser. ” ( DiYanni 275) The Devil and the woman had spoken to each other, Brown continues to walk on with the Devil in the disbelief of what he had just witnessed.
Brown again decides that he will no longer continue and says that just because his teacher was not going to heaven, why should he “quit my dear Faith, and go after her”. ( DiYanni 275) The Devil tosses Brown his staff and leaves him. Brown begins to think to himself about his situation and his pride in himself begins to build. Brown is feeling good about his strength in resisting the Devil, he see a carriage coming, and he hears the voices of the minister and Deacon Gookin. He overhears their conversation and hears them discuss about a “goodly young woman to be taken in to communion”! ( DiYanni 276) that evening at that night’s meeting and fears that it may be his Faith. When he heard this he became weak and fell to the ground. He “begins to doubt whether there really was a Heaven above him” and this is a key point when his faith begins to corrupt him. Once he begins to doubt whether this is really what he had heard or not, the sound comes to him again and this time it is followed by “one voice, of a young woman”. ( DiYanni 277) He believed it was Faith and he yells out her name in the forest.
A pink ribbon flies through the air and he grabs it. At this moment, he has lost all faith in the world “My Faith is gone” and was convince that there were “no good on earth. ” ( DiYanni 277) Brown was manipulated simply by his belief. Not only was his wife gone but also his faith, because to him his wife was the only one who was innocent, but also now she was taken open by the evil in the town. At this point Brown had lost his faith in God, therefore there was nothing holding his instincts from moving towards evil.
Brown then goes mad and challenges evil. He feels that he will be the downfall of evil and that he is strong enough to overcome it all. He believes that he is better than everyone else in that he alone can destroy evil. He says this remark because he is upset about the lost or his wife to evil. Throughout the story, Brown does not show any emotions like a normal person would have had. The author shows that Brown has “no compassion for the weaknesses he sees in others, no remorse for his own sin, and no sorrow for his loss of faith. (Easterly 339) This is an example of how Goodman Brown chose to follow his head rather than his heart. The “Young Goodman Brown” ends with Brown returning to Salem at early dawn and looking around like a “bewildered man. ” He cannot believe that he is in the same place that he just the night before.
Salem was no longer home to him. He felt like an outsider in a world of Devil worshippers and because his “basic means of order, his religious system, is absent, the society he was familiar with becomes nightmarish. (Shear 545) He comes back to the town “projecting his guilt onto those around him. ” Brown shows his anger towards the community when he sees Faith who is overwhelmed with excitement to see him and he looks “sternly and sadly into her face, and passed on without a greeting. ” ( DiYanni 280) Brown cannot even stand to look at his wife with whom he was at the convert service with. Goodman Brown was devastated by the discovery that the potential for evil resides in everybody. The rest of his life is destroyed because of he has to face the truth and live with it.
The story, which may have been a dream, and not a real life event, created a lot of doubt in Brown’s mind that cut him off from his fellow man and leaves him alone and depressed. So no matter if it was a dream or not it had a huge impact on him. His life ends alone and miserable because he was never able to look at himself and realize that what he believed were everyone else’s faults were his as well. His excessive pride in himself led to his isolation from the community. Brown was buried with “no hopeful verse upon his tombstone; for his dying hour was gloom. “
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The story, “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne has a lot of allegories. It is a moral story that is told through the corruption of a religious person. Goodman Brown […]