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Young Goodman Brown


Young Goodman Brown was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne who was an American Novelist. This short story was published in the year 1835 and was set during the 17th century and was addressing the desperate state of the human society back then. This was in accordance to Hawthorne’s interests whose general purpose was to reveal the hypocritic facets of the Puritan Literature. A study of loss of beliefs and virtues, the story shows how the world is full of misery for all but for those who are born in a well-established household.

The protagonist of the story is Young Goodman Brown who happens to be married to a woman named faith. Three years in the marriage, Goodman Brown ventures out for a journey into a forest. Despite protest from his wife he chooses to go on the journey which he claimed was necessary and had to be performed that very night. During the course of journey he meets an old man in the forest who was clad in similar dresses but for a staff. The two men then encounter an old women who was unable to walk for which the old man lent her his staff. Visions happen to come to Goodman Brown as he proceeds with the journey and through the old man’s help he finally manages to reach his home. However, the visions he had during the journey have completely ruined his state of mind. With no longer any faith in her wife, Faith, or his religion of Christianity, he proceeds only to live a bitter life.

As the times have passed the story too has grown in stature. Its first part is considered to be a portrayal of the usual life where we see the protagonist leading a regular life with his life. At this particular moment he is in total harmony with the village and is leading his life with Faith. However, then comes the second segment which is almost dreamlike, the impact of which we see on the protagonist in their and final part of the story.

The story is often seen as a critic of the modern ways of society where human nature has revelaed itself as evil. The story can be seen as an allegory in this regard as a study of human misery and condition in those days when the too few powerful were uncaring about others creating a world that appeared desperate at all the times.

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