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Analyze a story - Essay Example

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown,” tells the story of a young man who sets out on a journey into the forest at night, leaving behind his newly married wife. He meets with the devil and witnesses a gathering of evil minded people in the forest. There…
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Download file to see previous pages Hawthorne intends to show the reader the struggle between good and evil which goes on in every individual. He points out the hypocrisy which is common in the Puritan society of that age. The Puritans hide the evil in themselves underneath pretense. Hawthorne uses characterization, setting and symbolism to show that human nature is a mixture of good and evil.
Hawthorne’s characters all show themselves to be a combination of good and evil. Young Goodman Brown first speaks proudly of his ancestors: “We have been a race of honest men and good Christians since the days of the martyrs” (Hawthorne, 1034). The Devil is quick to point out that the Goodman’s grandfather, a constable, was also the man who cruelly accused a poor woman of witchcraft, beating her on the streets. Under the devil’s influence, the Goodman’s father set fire to an Indian village. Young Goodman Brown then boasts of the stern morals of the general population of the Puritans of New England, who are “people of prayer, and good works to boot, and abide no such wickedness” (Hawthorne, 1035). The demon in turn boasts that he is on intimate terms with public persons ranging from the deacons to the governor. Goody Cloyse, “a very pious and exemplary dame, who had taught him his catechism in youth” (Hawthorne, 1035) also proves to be close to the devil; in fact, Goody Cloyse is a witch who uses “the fat of a new-born babe” in her evil spells (Hawthorne, 1036). Even the pious old minister of the Goodman’s village church and his assistant, Deacon Gookin, are eagerly on their way to join the devil’s gathering. Young Goodman Brown himself is the best example of a good man who cannot control the dark side of his nature. He is confident in the strength of his goodness and asks his wife, “What my sweet, pretty wife, dost thou doubt me already?” (Hawthorne, 1033). However, although he continues to feel some doubts about his journey, and expresses his reluctance to accompany ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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