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Select a passage from the reading (no more than 40 words long) of Young Goodman Brown, then explain its significance in the cont - Research Paper Example

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“Young Goodman Brown” is an allegory of the fall of man, in which Hawthorne portrays the story of a man, a Puritan Faust figure, who is tempted by the Devil and succumbs because of his curiosity and weakness of his faith, which he perceived to be impenetrable…
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Select a passage from the reading (no more than 40 words long) of Young Goodman Brown, then explain its significance in the cont
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Download file to see previous pages During the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692, one of the most nightmarish episodes in Puritan history, twenty-five innocent people were accused of being witches and killed mercilessly. This witch hunt craze was based on accusations involving revenge, jealousy and any other reason that might have been perceived as witchcraft to the distraught and frightened populace of Salem. Hawthorne even goes to such lengths as to appropriate the names of Goody Cloyse and Martha Carrier, to of the supposed witches murdered at Salem. By including these historical references, he does not let the reader forget the dubious history of Salem and the legacy of Puritans, and he also accentuates the historical roots of Goodman Brown’s fascination with the Devil and the dark side that so lusciously leads him into the forest, despite him being fully aware of the fact that he is on an evil endeavor. John Hardt states that “Brown’s retreat into nature is at least partially a retreat from his wife, but by naming Brown’s wife “Faith,” Hawthorne further presents his journey into the forest as a trip away from faith (both theological and epistemological) towards realms of uncertainty and doubt” (37). She represents the importance and stability of the domestic sphere in the Puritan dogma. From the moment he leaves the security of his home and Faith, who begs him to stay and not to go, symbolizing his own faith keeping him from succumbing to darkness, and delves into the forest, he has simultaneously commenced a journey into the dark side of his mind and soul. The beginning of this tragic journey is marked immediately by fear of the wilderness, a dark and evil place where no good takes place. This also echoes another predominant belief of the seventeenth century Puritans, who blindly believed that the New World was something to be feared, converted and then controlled. Aligning himself with his fellow Puritans, Goodman Brown associates the forest with Indians and he sees one behind every tree: “There may be a devilish Indian behind every tree” (Hawthorne 112). The Indians were perceived as savages, the devil’s servants, lacking moral and religious ideologies attributed to Puritanism, and thus were doomed to go to Hell for not praising the name of the Lord during their lifetime. They were associated with all that is dark and unholy, while the wilderness they resided in was an epitome of their own existence: devilish, frightening and dark. Goodman Brown honestly believes that the Devil could easily be present in such a place: “What if the Devil himself should be at my very elbow!” (Hawthorne 112). He fears meeting the dark lord, yet he willingly and consciously embarks on this unholy journey: “as if a dream warned [Faith] what work is to be done to-nigh. But, no, no; ‘t would kill her to think it” (Hawthorne 111). He knows the stakes of his perilous wager, yet he continues on, as if this is something that needs to be done, without something his life will be deficient. He enters the forest and eventually sees the waiting Devil. This image of evil lurking in the guise of an ordinary man symbolizes the idea that every man, including such a seemingly pious figure as Goodman Brown himself, has the capacity for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Young Goodman Brown
..., to the general public of the time, is depicted in shades of grey: no one is completely good or bad. Hawthorne’s characterization is marked by moral ambiguity. There are no “good” and “evil” characters. Viewed from this perspective, it can be argued that “Young Goodman Brown” is an illustration of the battle between good and evil which is waged in the deepest soul of every man. The truth of human nature is that every man and woman is an amalgam of good and evil. Hawthorne’s narrative is more concerned with the ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude, and the veneer of hypocrisy, with which the Puritans of New England cloaked their daily lives. Young...
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