Preview
Preview

Good and Evil in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

:: 1 Works Cited
Length: 790 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Yellow      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Good and Evil in Young Goodman Brown


In "Young Goodman Brown." Nathaniel Hawthorne considers the question of good and evil, suggesting that true evil is judging and condemning others for sin without looking at one's own sinfulness. He examines the idea that sin is part of being human and there is no escape from it.

Of the many symbols he uses in this story, each has a profound meaning. They represent good and evil in the constant struggle of a young innocent man whose faith is being tested. As the story begins, Young Goodman Brown bids farewell to his young wife "Faith, as [she] was aptly named" (211). When she " ...thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap" we associate the purity of "Faith" and the "pink ribbons" as a sign of the innocence and goodness of the town he is leaving behind (211). As he continues "on his present evil purpose" he sets off at sunset to enter the forest (212). A place "darkened by all the gloomiest trees," unknown territory, and a place where "there may be a devilish Indian behind every tree," with this we know the forest represents evil and sinfulness (212).

His decision to enter the forest and leave his "Faith" behind is the first decision, of many, between good and evil that he must make. After entering the forest he meets a traveler whom he later finds out is the devil. He is carrying a staff representing evil, "which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought, that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself, like a living serpent" (213). When the traveler offers his staff to Young Goodman Brown he resists by replying, "having kept covenant by meeting thee here, it is my purpose to return whence I cam...


... middle of paper ...


...the forest ultimately causes him to believe that he is better than everyone else and he disassociate himself from all those in the town as he judges them as being sinners. He becomes "a stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man..." after his journey when he commits the ultimate sin of judging and condemning others without looking at one's own sinfulness. In the end "they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone; for his dying hour was gloom (221).

Works Cited and Consulted

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.,1989.

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


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper








This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Good and Evil in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay - Good and Evil in Young Goodman Brown In "Young Goodman Brown." Nathaniel Hawthorne considers the question of good and evil, suggesting that true evil is judging and condemning others for sin without looking at one's own sinfulness. He examines the idea that sin is part of being human and there is no escape from it. Of the many symbols he uses in this story, each has a profound meaning. They represent good and evil in the constant struggle of a young innocent man whose faith is being tested. As the story begins, Young Goodman Brown bids farewell to his young wife "Faith, as [she] was aptly named" (211)....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]
:: 1 Works Cited
790 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Compulsion Toward Evil in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay - The Compulsion Toward Evil in “Young Goodman Brown”      It is the intention of this essay to demonstrate the compulsion toward gross evil in “Young Goodman Brown” that is indicated by the actions of the characters, a compulsion that includes not only the leading characters but virtually everyone in the tale.   In Salem village that fateful night when the young Puritan husband was departing home for the night, he exchanged “a parting kiss with his young wife.” The wind was playing with “the pink ribbons of her cap.” Literary critic Wagenknecht surveys some of the critical interpretation relative to these ribbons on Faith’s cap and how they convey a message from Hawthorne:   Mathews...   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]
:: 5 Works Cited
1116 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on the Evil in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown - The Evil in Young Goodman Brown In my interpretation of the story, I will be discussing three main topics: the beginning conversation with Faith, the devilish character, and Brown’s wife’s meaning in the story. Young Goodman Brown is about to take a journey like many others before him, across the threshold separating the young unknowing boys and the elderly sages. This, however, will not be without peril, because aging is a testing process defined by trial and error, and the errors’ prices are sometimes significant....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB] 733 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Good and Evil in Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay - ... Connolly, “not only did he retain his faith, but during his horrible experience he actually discovered the full and frightening significance of his faith.” At the beginning of the story, Brown was seen as a devout Calvinist in which he truly believed he was one of the elect. The errand on which he is going is understood as a prearrangement with the devil. Because of his belief, it is after meeting the devil that Brown’s disillusionment will come. Brown asserts with great hubris that his ancestors “have been a race of honest men and good Christians since the days of the martyrs.” The devil replies by stating, “I have been as well acquainted with your family as with ever a one among the Pu...   [tags: sin, morals, faith]
:: 2 Works Cited
649 words
(1.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Evil, Faith, and Redemption in Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown Essay - Evil, Faith, and Redemption in Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown There are many things that go on “behind closed doors” in today’s culture. In many cases it is not closed doors that conceal what goes on, but the dark. Usually what is not seen is not considered good. During the time of early America, there was an event that came to be known as the Salem witch trials. This event has sparked many debates and many folk tales. Nathaniel Hawthorne writes in a way to show the error of modern culture....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]
:: 1 Works Cited
1219 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Absence of Absolute Good or Absolute Evil in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown - Absence of Absolute Good or Absolute Evil in Young Goodman Brown     "'Lo. There ye stand, my children,' said the figure, in a deep and solemn tone, almost sad, with its despairing awfulness, as if his once angelis nature could yet mourn for our miserable race. "Depending on one another's hearts, ye had still hoped, that virtue were not all a dream. Now ye are undeceived. Evil is the nature of mankind. Evil must be your only happiness. Welcome, again, my children, to the communion of your race!'" The above quotation from Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown is of central importance in analyzing the attitudes and ideas present throughout the story, though in a curious way....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]
:: 5 Works Cited
1453 words
(4.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Forest of Good and Evil in Young Goodman Brown”by Nathaniel Hawthorne - ... She symbolizes Goodman’s own faith, and it is shown by the Goodman’s description of his wife: “And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap” (Hawthorne 1). In addition, when he arrives in the forest, the gentleman waiting there for him tells him that he is already late, and Goodman responds: "Faith kept me back awhile"(Hawthorne 1). This shows that Goodman’s wife is not only his wife but also she is referring to her husband own religious belief as well....   [tags: symbolism, faith, darkness]
:: 1 Works Cited
931 words
(2.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Good Vs. Evil in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown - Good vs. Evil The short story, "Young Goodman Brown" is a fascinating rendition of the battle between good and evil. The reader must delve into the depths of his/her own beliefs to understand what the symbolism is. Nathaniel Hawthorne writes an entire lesson in life as one big symbol using allegory. The various examples are fruitful and will be presented throughout this essay. First, the main character's name is Goodman Brown. Does this mean something. It seems Nathaniel Hawthorne wished it to be that way....   [tags: American Literature] 680 words
(1.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Young Goodman Brown: Good vs Evil Essay - In Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Young Goodman Brown,” the author uses danger and mystery to represent the struggle of good versus evil. Young Goodman Brown journeys into the night and comes to realize an unforgiving truth. Everyone is in danger of abandoning their faith or is inherently evil. Nathaniel Hawthorne has filled this story symbolism, after reading this story the reader may have questions about Young Goodman Browns’ determination to journey towards his evil purpose. Nathaniel Hawthorne implies strong faith can endure but when that faith is destroyed, what view does a person have towards mankind....   [tags: nathanial hawthorne, good, evil] 684 words
(2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Analysis of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay - Analysis of Young Goodman Brown "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathanial Hawthorne is a short story that is very interesting, as well as entertaining. This essay will first provide a brief summary of the story, followed by an analysis of the importance of symbolism. The nature of evil will then be discussed as it relates to the control of the mind of a once naive and innocent goodman Brown. The climax of the story will be analyzed and the evil within this passage will be discussed and related to the final downfall of goodman Brown....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB] 1515 words
(4.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]