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Dreams in Young Goodman Brown and in the Life of Its Author Essay

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Dreams in “Young Goodman Brown” and in the Life of Its Author


    The entire allegory of “Young Goodman Brown” is incoroporated into a dream, depending on the reader’s interpretation of the Hawthorne tale. In his own life Hawthorne had dreams and made personal use of them.

 

In 1847 Edgar Allan Poe, reviewing Hawthorne’s tales in “Tale-Writing: A Review” for Godey's Lady's Book, has this to say about his dreamy approach to writing:

 

Now, my own opinion of him is, that although his walk is limited and he is fairly

to be charged with mannerism, treating all subjects in a similar tone of dreamy innuendo [italics mine], yet in this walk he evinces extraordinary genius, having no rival either in America or elsewhere; and this opinion I have never heard gainsaid by any one literary person in the country

 

Hawthorne’s dreamy approach to life began at a very young age, as mentioned by James Russell Lowell in “Hawthorne” in A Fable For Critics (1848).

 

His mind developed itself; intentional cultivation might have spoiled it.... He used to invent long stories, wild and fanciful, and tell where he was going when he grew up, and of the wonderful adventures he was to meet with, always ending with, 'And I 'm never coming back again,' in quite a solemn tone, that enjoined upon us the advice to value him the more while he stayed with us.

 

“Young Goodman Brown” opens with the young Puritan husband leaving his wife for the evening so that he can secretly attending a witches’ meeting in the middle of the forest. As he leaves the house:

 

"Dearest heart," whispered she, softly and rather sadly, when her lips were close to his ear, "pr'ythee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep i...


... middle of paper ...


...-oriented that his philosophy of life includes dream imagery.

 

WORKS CITED

Benoit, Raymond.  "'Young Goodman Brown': The Second Time Around."  The Nathaniel Hawthorne Review 19 (Spring 1993): 18-21.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Complete Short Stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York: Doubleday and Co., Inc.,1959. 247-56.

James, Henry. Hawthorne. http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/nhhj1.html

Lowell, James Russell. “Hawthorne.” In A Fable For Critics. 1848. http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/fable.html

Martin, Terence. Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York: Twayne Publishers Inc., 1965.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “Tale-Writing: A Review.” In Godey's Lady's Book, November, 1847, no. 35, pp. 252-6. http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/nhpoe2.html

Wagenknecht, Edward. Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Man, His Tales and Romances. New York: Continuum Publishing Co., 1989.


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