Young Goodman Brown Themes

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Hawthorne presents Young Goodman Brown's evening of diabolical revelry as the first and last fling with evil the inexperienced young man ever has. Early in the story, Brown says: "after this one night I'll cling to [Faith's] skirts and follow her to heaven." He believes Faith is an "angel" and one of the Puritan elect who is destined for heaven.

Unfortunately, Brown's experience in the forest makes him reject his previous conviction of the prevailing power of good. He instead embraces the Devil's claim—"Evil is the nature of mankind"— by crying out "Come, devil: for to thee is this world given." This acknowledgment, fueled by the discovery of hypocrisy in the catechist, clergy, the magistrates of Salem, and his own wife, destroys Brown's faith in the Puritan elect It also sets the tone for the rest of his life. Critics often view this outcome as...

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This section contains 497 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Young Goodman Brown Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Young Goodman Brown from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.