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Young Goodman Brown, good man? Evil man?

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Young Goodman Brown, writed by Nathanial Hawthorne, the story is about the experience of a young Puritan man — Young Goodman Brown in the forest.  Was Young Goodman Brown a good man or an evil man? I’ve read this story several times and I found that Howthorne didn’t tell us the answer. Indeed, I feel that the entire story is like a dream, the author didn’t make any conclusions of this story, or tell us how he think about morality. And he neither prove of disprove some points of Puritanism. So there will be much space for readers to think about this story.

The first two characters introduced in the story, Young Goodman Brown and his wife Faith, are both symbolic in their names. Brown’s name symbolizes youth and good nature. Brown is a young man throughout the story, and his youth suggests that he has yet to be corrupted by the world and is still innocent. Faith, suggests that Brown’s wife symbolizes the goodness that is found in a young wife.

The story begins with Goodman Brown leaving his wife, Faith for an overnight errand. She begs him not to go, but he does so anyway. Faith is the only symbol of hope in the story. She is a symbol of love, as in the love between man and woman, and also the love, faith and devotion he has in God. In essence, by leaving Faith in the beginning of the story, he is leaving his faith in God and good. Faith is introduced in the beginning of the story as the devoted wife who warns her husband to stay with her because of a dream that she has.  The whole story tell us that Brown loses his faith and follows the devil on the evil path.

Without Faith, Goodman Brown become a helpless man. He thought people who close to him, even himself, are capable of great evil.”she’s a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night, I’ll cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven”. Goodman Brown is counting on Faith to redeem him after his errand with the devil. When Goodman Brown finally meets with the Devil, he declares that the reason he was late was because “Faith kept me back awhile”. This sentence not only telling us the encounter with his wife prevented him from being on time for his meeting with the devil, but also his faith to God also delayed his meeting.

I am not quite sure if Young Goodman Brown really experiences these events or not, because after Goodman Brown cried out, and in the story we can find that “Hardly had he spoken when he found himself amid calm night and solitude, listening to a roar of the wind which died heavily avay through the forest.”  So we just don’t know if he had just made a dream or this event happened actually.  But this is not important. What is important is what’s happened to Goodman Brown, he lost his “faith”.  The whole thing has ruined him. He had become a despondent man. He took no pleasure of anything, even his loving and caring wife.

“And when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave, a hoary corpse, followed by Faith, an aged woman, and children and grandchildren, a goodly procession, besides neighbors not a few, they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone; for his dying hour was gloom”. The last sentence of this story tell us the final of Young Goodman Brown. He lost his faith, and he spent his whole life dismally. His depressing fate tell us how important the faith is. So I think Young Goodman Brown is a good man when he had faith. After he lost his faith, he become an evil and woeful man.

注: 本文是本人写的期末考试论文,仅供参考,请勿转载或抄袭,多谢合作。

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