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Young Goodman Brown

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Mullings 01

Life without Faith

After reading the story Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne I must admit that I was a tad puzzled. I had to read this story for the second time in order to write my readers response. From my perspective the author tells a story of a man who leaves his wife Faith to meet with a mysterious figure deep in the forest. I thought it was very symbolic of Nathaniel to name the wife Faith in this story. After all Young Goodman Brown ends up with neither his wife Faith or his life with faith in it.

When he finally meets up with this mysterious figure they continue to their journey deep into the woods. It seems to me that Goodman Brown was actually the man that he saw in the woods. It was him as an older man "As nearly as could be discerned, the second traveler 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. Still they might have been taken for father and son" (paragraph 13). He even began to think the devil was everywhere. What also led me to the assumption that Goodman Brown was indeed walking with himself was when Hawthorne stated "With heaven above and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil!" cried Goodman Brown" (paragraph 44). He said that as if he was fighting with himself.

As the story continues Brown then discovers numerous people that lived in his town whom he had considered Christians, "he pointed his staff at a female figure on the path, in whom Goodman Brown recognized a very pious and exemplary dame, who had taught him

Mullings 02

his catechism in youth, and was still his moral and spiritual adviser, jointly with the minister and Deacon Gookin" (paragraph 26).

While Goodman Brown continues to fight with himself and contemplates about turning back and going home to Faith, he suddenly hears her voice in the woods. This is when climax appeared in the story for me. At this time when he recognized he wives voice he is now distraught. He was fighting to go back home to her, while she was here in the woods with the devil "Faith!" shouted Goodman Brown, in a voice of agony and desperation; and the echoes of the forest mocked him, crying, "Faith! Faith!" as if bewildered wretches were seeking her all through the wilderness" (paragraph 46).

The morning after he walks out of the woods and walks dreadfully back into his village. As I read on, the author clearly describes the doubt, uncertainty and shame that now was engraved into Young Goodman Brown's soul. He sees his wife and walks past her as if she were nonexistent. When I finally reached to the end of the passage, it all made sense to me. Although Young Goodman Brown



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