Young Goodman Brown | Study Guide

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Course Hero. "Young Goodman Brown Study Guide." January 19, 2017. Accessed July 17, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Young-Goodman-Brown/.

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Course Hero, "Young Goodman Brown Study Guide," January 19, 2017, accessed July 17, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Young-Goodman-Brown/.

Young Goodman Brown | Character Analysis

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Young Goodman Brown

Young Goodman Brown is a young, recently married Puritan man in Salem village. Leaving his faithful wife for a night to secretly attend a witches' Sabbath, Young Goodman Brown believes he can return to his devout Christian life the next day. He meets the Dark Figure on the road and tries to back out of the plan, but his experiences along the way erode his trust in his wife and neighbors and leads to his ultimate loss of faith. Young Goodman Brown acknowledges guilt, evil, and sin as human nature, which resides in him as well.

The Dark Figure

The Dark Figure, who resembles Old Goodman Brown, waits for Young Goodman Brown on the road outside Salem village to take him to a witches' Sabbath for the night. When Young Goodman Brown wishes to turn back, the Dark Figure is confident he will wind up there eventually and gives him a magic staff to guide him to the meeting. As he presides over the meeting, the Dark Figure claims human nature is evil and tries to baptize Brown and his wife, Faith. He promises them the ability to see the secret sins of others. When Brown resists, the Dark Figure and the entire meeting disappear.

Faith

Affectionate and pure, young Faith kisses her husband goodbye, begging him not to leave her alone for the night. She fears nightmares will plague her. Later Young Goodman Brown hears her voice coming from the traveling cloud. Faith is brought to the pulpit for baptism by the Dark Figure, but Young Goodman Brown never knows whether or not she resisted. Appearing unchanged, Faith rushes to kiss Young Goodman Brown when he returns to the village, but he never trusts her again.

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