John Goodman Brown Essay, Research Paper
The main focus of the story Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne is the triumph of evil over good. A supposedly good man is tempted by evil and allows himself to be converted into a man of evil. In this short story, the area where the devil resides is in the forest.
As Goodman Brown sets off on his walk into the forest, he believes that there is more good within his community than evil, and that he himself is a good man. He believes that he will follow his wife to heaven. Yet as he talks with his fellow traveler his thoughts are soon swayed. Goodman Brown talks of his father and grandfather and how they never went into the woods on such an errand as himself, for they were honest men and good Christians. Yet his companion tells him of many a sin his relatives had committed and the walks he had taken with them, therefore proving to Goodman Brown that his father and grandfather before him were not perfectly innocent, good people. Goodman Brown says to his companion that the people of New England are a good people of prayer and abide no wickedness. Again, the traveler returns with comments of the church deacon drinking the communion wine and the town selectmen selling themselves to him and the General Court solidly supporting his interests. Goodman Brown cannot believe what he is hearing to be true, for he had always thought of his community as decent, non-sinning people incapable of wickedness. Goodman Brown then says that these people s ways have no attachment to him and therefore he is not capable of their sinful doings. This urges his companion into uncontrollable laughter, for he knows that Goodman Brown is as much a sinner as the rest of them although he has yet to realize this. Meeting Goody Cloyse in the forest shows that Goodman Brown has been evil all of his life; for she is a witch, and he says that the old lady taught him his catechism, therefore he is just as evil as she and the town.
Goodman Brown is tempted by his fellow traveler, who is most definitely an advocate of the devil, or the devil in another form, to come deeper into the forest, but he refuses. Goodman Brown now sits and ponders whether or not to turn back. He hears the voices of the town s deacon and minister, and they talk of he communion they will be attending. Upon hearing this, Goodman Brown cries out that he will stand strong against the devil. He then hears the confused sound of voices of the towns-people. This is the devil firmly urging Goodman Brown to give in to his evil. Now the desperate man hears the scream of a woman and sees his wife s pink hair ribbon in a tree and the effects of this stun him. Crying out My Faith is gone, he instantly sells himself to the devil. This cry of his is meant to show that his own personal beliefs are gone, and what is left is sin.
The focus of this story has many similarities to The Scarlet Letter. In both the novel and Young Goodman Brown the forest is where the devil, dwells. In The Scarlet Letter, this is where the sin was committed, and in Young Goodman Brown , this is where the young man gives himself up to the mercy of the devil. In both of Hawthorne s works the witches of the town are seen by the main characters in the forest, and are on their way to see the devil. The forest is a definite representation of where sinners meet with the ultimate evil force.
The name of John Goodman Brown also has a meaning. Then name Brown is referring to any human in general, just like the name John Smith it can refer to anybody.
This is an important part of the story because it is showing how the human, that are Christians, put up a wall against the devil and his way of life (sin), but the wall is eventually broken down, by our own greediness-.
This story clearly depicts the belief that evil will always conquer good and that all mankind is essentially evil. This is shown through a young man s struggle against exposing himself to the devil s wickedness. He eventually gives give up and goes evil. The devil s place of dwelling is in the dark of the forest and here is where Goodman Brown s soul is corrupted, as the devil so clearly states, Evil is the nature of mankind. Right then and there it shows that John Goodman Brown had no chance of fighting the evil.