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Essay on Where Not To Base Your Faith: Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:31) The manner in which Goodman Brown based his faith is a very good example of how not to base one’s faith. The strength of Goodman Browns faith was based on his wife’s faith, his trust in his neighbors, and his personal experiences. The strength of one’s faith is one of the most important aspects of any person, and it is especially important in the story Young Goodman Brown.
The definition of faith according to Merriam-Webster.com is, “Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.” In order for one to closely examine the story “Young Goodman Brown” it is important first to have some basic knowledge of the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne was a writer that lived in Salem, Massachusetts in the early 18th century. According to the Reader’s Encyclopedia of American Literature many people that analyzed Hawthorne’s works, believed that he had an obsession with the, “Unpardonable sin” (439-440). Those analysts’ thought that way because Hawthorne wrote so frequently about it, an example of this is the condition of Goodman Brown’s faith at the end of “Young Goodman Brown”. For example, at the end of “Young Goodman Brown” Goodman Brown had essentially lost his all hope in his faith (455). The next point to bring to light is the amount of faith Goodman Brown had invested into his neighbors.
Upon close examination of the story “Young Goodman Brown” one might notice that Goodman Brown had stored his faith in three places; in his neighbors, in his wife, and in his personal experiences. The placement of Goodman Brown’s faith with his neighbors is the first...


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...Young Goodman Brown Became Old Badman Brown 24.2 (1962): 153. JSTOR. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
The English Standard Version Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments with Apocrypha. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Young Goodman Brown." Literature Craft & Voice. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. 449-55. Print.
Klevay, Robert. ""His Dying Hour Was Gloom": Crises of Faith in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown"____." Crisis of Faith. New York: Grey House, 2013. 106-23. Print.
Lathrop, G. P., ed. "Hawthorne, Nathaniel." The Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature. Binghamton, New York: Vail-Ballou, 1962. 439-40. Print.
McKeithan, D. M. Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown": An Interpretation 67.2 (1952): 93-96. JSTOR. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
Paulits, Walter J. "Ambivalence in "Young Goodman Brown"" 41.4 (1970): 577-84. JSTOR. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.



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