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Internal Conflict of Goodman Brown in Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Internal Conflict of Goodman Brown in Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne


The story of ?Young Goodman Brown? exemplifies the struggle of one man?s internal conflict of good and evil. The main character, Goodman Brown, leaves Salem village and his wife, Faith, to travel into the depths of the dark forest. The Young Goodman Brown will be aged with the knowledge he faces in this one night. Brown keeps his appointment with the devil in the forest, and he must choose to go back to his ?faith,? or explore the evils that the devil has to offer. Next, Brown is confronted with the virtuous people who live in his community, who will be attending the witch?s meeting with the devil. He has to decide if he will follow them along this path. Brown struggles to see if his wife is at the witch?s meeting, as he stands at the edge of the forest watching everyone he knows worshiping the devil. He must choose whether he will adjust his moral standings and join his group, or keep his original morals. He is led by Faith into this situation of evil. He and Faith are brought to the altar before the devil to be baptized into Brown?s self- created hell, a world of secrets in the human soul. Brown must choose to either look up to heaven and have faith in God, or doubt his own spirituality and follow others into hell.

Goodman Brown leaves his wife, Faith, and Salem village in the daytime to keep his appointment with the devil, and he ventures into the forest without his ?faith.? This is a moment of irrationality because he leaves his wife, home, and security to take a dangerous and unknown path. He doesn?t want Faith to find out the evil intention of his errand because he says, ?she?s a blessed angel on earth; and after this one...


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...s, and that frightens him more than anything else. His inability to judge between good and evil also prevents him from cuddling or accepting ?faith,? and interacting with the other townspeople. He lived a long miserable life and died with ?no hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom?(319). His death was gloom because he didn?t know where he was going to end up, above or below his deathbed. Brown?s moral and social isolation is the worst possible evil that a man can ever have happen to him. If he would have looked at the evils in mankind, he could?ve recognized the good in people. That was the full intention of the dream, but he failed the test miserably.

Works Cited:

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Young Goodman Brown." 1835. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter et al. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. Lexington: Heath, 1944. 2129-38.



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