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Young Goodman Brown | Study Guide

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Young Goodman Brown | Quotes


Pray tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year.


Not only is Faith concerned about being left alone for the night but also there is something unusual, perhaps dangerous, about this particular night.


What, my sweet, pretty wife, dost thou doubt me already, and we but three months married?

Young Goodman Brown

Brown is posing a question of faith to his new wife—an important theme in the story.


She's a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night I'll cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven.

Young Goodman Brown

Brown is devoted to his wife, whom he considers pure and godly, and he seems aware that he is about to do something unworthy of her, so he tells himself he'll be faithful to her forever after.


'Ha! ha! ha!' shouted he again and again; then composing himself, 'Well, go on, Goodman Brown, go on; but, prithee, don't kill me with laughing.'

The Dark Figure

The Dark Figure cannot stop laughing when Brown compares himself to his ancestors, saying they could not abide wickedness. The Brown family was not as pure and godly as Brown believes.


With heaven above and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil!

Young Goodman Brown

When he hears but does not see Deacon Gookin and the minister, Brown doubts all he held sacred. The blue sky and stars reassure him heaven exists. Heaven and his wife's holiness bolster him against evil.


'My Faith is gone!' cried he, after one stupefied moment. 'There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil; for to thee is this world given.'

Young Goodman Brown

After Faith appears to be taken away in an ominous cloud, Brown reaches the limit of his existential crisis, acknowledging the inevitability of evil and the rule of the devil.


Come witch, come wizard, come Indian powwow, come devil himself, and here comes Goodman Brown. You may as well fear him as he fear you.

Young Goodman Brown

Brown summons all the leaders of supernatural evil; in his emotional state, feeling evil within himself rising, they have as much to fear from him as he does from them.


This night it shall be granted you to know their secret deeds ... It shall be yours to penetrate, in every bosom, the deep mystery of sin, the fountain of all wicked arts, and which inexhaustibly supplies more evil impulses than human power—than my power at its utmost—can make manifest in deeds.

The Dark Figure

When Brown and Faith are about to be inducted into the evil congregation, the Dark Figure says they will know the secret evildoings of all people and they will see more evil intent exists than people can act on. Even the full power of the devil working nonstop cannot keep up with the demands of human evil.


Depending upon one another's hearts, ye had still hoped that virtue were not all a dream. Now are ye undeceived. Evil is the nature of mankind. Evil must be your only happiness.

The Dark Figure

The Dark Figure says Brown and Faith's love for and belief in one another justified their belief in goodness, but in truth evil is their true nature and will supersede love as their source of happiness.


And when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave a hoary corpse ... they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom.


Young Goodman Brown lives a long life of shattered beliefs, without faith, and dies a gray-haired old man. He has no last-minute reconciliation with God or hope for a heavenly reward. The repercussions of his reversal of faith carry through to the grave.

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