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Essay about The Hero's Journey in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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The Hero's Journey in Young Goodman Brown

 

Faith is accepting what you are taught or told without trying to prove or disprove it, rather than discovering it through experience. Those who believe in God have faith. It has not been proven that God exists; similarly, it has not been proven that humans are kind, honest, and good by nature. Young Goodman Brown is a character in "Young Goodman Brown," who leaves his known world in Salem village and travels an unknown road in a dark forest in the middle of the night, a common motif in literature better known as the Hero's journey, and is faced with obstacles. He must decide if he will carry his journey out till the end, or turn back and not learn the truth about himself and other humans.

The story "Young Goodman Brown," by Nathaniel Hawthorne traces Young Goodman Brown's experiences, physical and psychological, paralleling the Hero's Journey and showing how he discovers that humans are truly evil by nature; therefore, altering his views of other humans and life itself. In the beginning of the story, Goodman Brown is faced with a decision to stay home with his wife another night or to take off on his journey. This parallels his psychological decision to leave behind all that he knew to be true up until that point and discover the truth no matter how harsh it may be. The call, from the Hero's journey, is when Goodman Brown decides to go out alone to discover himself. Faith, his wife, is urging him to stay with her instead of leaving that night. She almost convinces Brown to stay, but his desire to discover himself overpowers his desire to stay with Faith.

The struggle going on inside of Goodman Brown's head is really between remaining innocent and having blind faith i...


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...oom" (pg. 100). His life was changed so drastically during that one night that he could never forget it. Through the Hero's journey, Hawthorne shows the development of Young Goodman Brown as he discovers his true nature as evil. He comes to terms with the reality that humans are evil creatures, no matter how honorable or innocent they may seem.

Transformations, both physical and psychological, took place during Goodman Brown's expedition, but were these changes necessarily good ones? Which is better: to have grace and innocence, but be happy with life, or to know the truth although it may hurt to know it? There is a cliché used to explain a good point of view that says, "what you don't know can't hurt you." Young Goodman Brown would have led a happier life if he remained innocent, but at least he received something good from his journey, knowledge and truth.


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