Dark Storylines in Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne presents many dark themes in his short stories and novels In his work “Young Goodman Brown” — dark spirits, visions, imagery, afterlife, and character names are utilized to support the story’s theme Nathaniel Hawthorne contradicts the names of characters in the tale, Without the use of these names, the chain of events would not be as suspenseful and influential, Hawthorne uses names, such as Faith, to connect belief in God to Goodman Brown, If this allegory were not present in the literature, the value of characters and actions would be degraded.

The names used in the short story each have unique, literary devices that Hawthorne exploits in his writing. The main character that Nathaniel Hawthorne first introduces in the dark-themed short story is Young Goodman Brown, The figure is initially described as a frequent, church attendant and an ethical man. Later in the tale Goodman Brown leaves his wife for the night to go into the woods to discuss dealings with the devil Brown encounters a man that has a similar semblance and considers selling his soul to the figure.

Hawthorne soon reveals that the mysterious man is Satan, The words “young” and “good” suggest the desire for righteousness and innocence, and “brown” promotes a veiled, rotten subject. Hawthorne shows that when an individual is young, that person is bound to make mistakes, “Young” human beings are inevitably going to fail and not be “good” as Hawthorne describes. Goodman Brown demonstrates the common man. While every individual strives for perfection in youth, the best life lessons come from mistakes in the early years of life.

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The placement of these terms forms a distinguishable contradiction to arrange irony in the storyline. This literary technique that is placed by Hawthorne displays a significant contrast between the characters’ actions.

The whole forest was peopled with frightful sounds–the creaking of the trees, the howling of wild beasts, and the yell of Indians; while sometimes the wind tolled like a distant church bell, and sometimes gave a broad roar around the traveler, as if all Nature were laughing him to scorn. But he was himself the chief horror of the scene, and shrank not from its other horrors. (Hawthorne) Without the contrast between Young Goodman Brown’s name and actions, the dark theme would not be as visible People gain wisdom through the mistakes and life lessons learned at a young age. Hawthorne warns readers in this segment to be wary of the vulnerabilities one is susceptible to early in life Young Goodman Brown’s wife, Faith, is another integral character in Nathaniel Hawthorne‘s short story When Goodman Brown meets Satan in the woods, he describes that his wife delayed his departure.

“Faith kept me a while” (Hawthorne). This line given by Goodman Brown holds an allegorical and literal meaning. Faith actually did keep him back for a short while causing Goodman Brown to be late, Allegorically, the Christian morals of faith that Goodman Brown had been taught caused him second thoughts before coming out into the woods. Later in the story when Goodman Brown is making his conversion, he loudly cries out that his faith is depleted. “My Faith is gone!…There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name” (Hawthorne) This segment again shows specifically that Faith has a dual meaning. Faith represents both Goodman Brown’s wife and his faith in God. Another main character that appears in the woods is the old man or the “devil“ figure The man has an exterior appearance similar to Goodman Brown, but is older in number of years.

The man approaches Goodman Brown in the woods to converse about the possibility of Brown‘s conversion away from Christianity. It was now deep dusk in the forest, and deepest in that pan of it where these two were journeying. As nearly as could be discerned, the second traveller was about fifty years old, apparently in the same rank of life as Goodman Brown, and bearing a considerable resemblance to him, though perhaps more in expression than features (Hawthorne) The context and circumstances Hawthorne presents in this segment suggest many conceptions. According to the narrator, the man was similar to Goodman Brown in both appearance and stage in life. These conditions suggest that the old man is a portrayal and embodiment of what any Christian would not want to be, Hawthorne uses the old man and Goodman Brown to compare their characteristics, lifestyles, and morals to convey to readers a Vivid contrast between living with and without God.

On the contrary, these two characters might represent inner battle man has between committing sin and doing right. Hawthorne presents to readers that it is difficult to gain a track record of righteousness; but in contrast, one may effortlessly form a lifestyle revolving around sin The names of characters are key elements in “Young Goodman Brown”. The author uses the names of characters to show irony, faith in God, contrast between good and evil, and examine the dangers of life without wisdom at a young age. If the use of these names in the story, the plot would be less suspenseful and valuable, Hawthorne demonstrates in this short story that names are part of what binds a piece of literature together. If these small details are not present in writing, the piece becomes another cliche’ piece that is not beneficial to readers and everyday life applications.

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Dark Storylines in Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne. (2023, May 14). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/dark-storylines-in-young-goodman-brown-by-nathaniel-hawthorne/

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