Analysis of Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

May 5, 2021 by Essay Writer

Extortion, Bribery, Police Brutality, and Suicide are becoming more common in the world today which is corrupting society, but the people who uphold their faith are the most successful through it all. In the story, Young Goodman Brown, a man wanders through the forest to meet with a mysterious man, but the man wants to take him to a secret witch ceremony. Throughout this walk, Goodman fights his fear with the control of his faith. He then loses his faith and believes everyone in his village has betrayed him and he soon dies with anger that no one remembered what happened that night. Hawthorne uses symbolism and situational irony to prove how easy society allows you to lose faith and how hard it is to gain it back. Goodman’s wife, Faith, is used as a symbol for his personal faith. He relates her to an angel saying, “She’s a blessed angel on earth; and this one night, I’ll cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven”.

While he walks through the forest his faith is tested by voices that echo in his ears, trees that resemble monsters, and the screaming of demons. All through this he keeps himself together until a pink ribbon falls from the sky and Goodman shouts, “My Faith is gone!” Both symbolically and physically is his faith gone because he believes she dies and loses faith that there is good in the world, and then continues on to see what awaits him in the wilderness.

Towards the end of the story, Goodman returns home and realizes that no one else remembers what happened that night. There is situational irony here because he is perplexed and angered that no one remembers, but the audience knows something happened. The author writes, “Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest, and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting?” stating how he isn’t sure if it was an allusion. Even though the people around him don’t remember he still knows something happened and he loses trust in everyone. He even becomes rude and hateful towards Faith when he, “Scowled, and muttered to himself, and gazed sternly at his wife”. The author uses this to show that the world is pursuing corruption and that the people that allow it in will never fully be happy. The symbolism of Faith and the irony of people not remembering what happened corrupts Goodman Brown. He loses the meaning of faith and his trust in all good things in the world.

Goodman Brown never gained his trust back before death, so the author is hinting that people shouldn’t consume themselves in the evil in the world. That they should live their lives happily, or inevitably let the world consume you to death.

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