YGB FINAL DRAFT - Interpreting Young Goodman Brown...

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is based around a man who has grown up with an extremely religious background in Salem, a colony in Massachusetts during the 1600s. It takes place around the time of the Salem Witch Trials, held in 1692. These are a few things that we can be certain of while reading the text. Nathaniel Hawthorne leaves many questions unanswered throughout the story, which leads scholars to have several interpretations of the text. The story of Young Goodman Brown can lead to many wonderful debates about theology and “faith”. The setting of this story is primarily in a forest that Brown is lead into by a man with a staff of a serpent. He leaves his new wife of only 3 months back at their home. Brown is having a personal psychological conflict within him and feels that entering the “forest” will satisfy these needs. What happens in the forest is unimaginable, or is it? One thing that is certain is that the theme of “Young Goodman Brown” is temptation. There is much debate whether or not Brown fell asleep and dreamt everything that happened. Antagonists, atheists, and theologians can all debate this story from a religious perspective. Hawthorne writes throughout the story that there are many times when Young Goodman Brown expresses a desire to turn back, but it is apparent that he cannot choose a different path. Young Goodman Brown shows us that even the purist of men: leaders, clergymen, presidents, people we put our trust in, can falter. “Young Goodman Brown” means exactly what it says, its heroin left his wife to go into the night and find out if his heart was pure. An interpretation done by D.M. McKeithan of the University of Texas, talks about the evil and sin behind Young Goodman Brown. According to McKeithan, Hawthorne uses symbolism numerous times throughout the story. He goes on by saying that one of the main
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This note was uploaded on 05/11/2008 for the course ENGL 210 taught by Professor Marcellaremund during the Spring '08 term at University of South Dakota.

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YGB FINAL DRAFT - Interpreting Young Goodman Brown...

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