, Research Paper
Have you ever held yourself back from a once in a lifetime opportunity because you were afraid of the consequences? Have you ever doubted your faith because of a few bad experiences? These are questions the characters, in Eveline by James Joyce and in Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne, make the reader reflect on while witnessing their situations. Eveline and Young Goodman Brown have their faith tested as they come across situations of good versus evil or right versus wrong.
Religion plays a major role in Eveline s life when dealing with love. She loves her father though he treats her horribly. Eveline works hard to help support the family but he takes the money she earns, so he can go the bar on the weekends. Her mother died years ago and Eveline promised her that she would keep the home together as long as she could. This shows that a lot of the burden of being the caretaker of the family was heavily placed upon her. Since Eveline has this major burden to tend to she has no time to be in love. However, Frank, a man that cares a great deal for her, courts her and offers to take her away from Ireland to live in Buenos Ayres where he would give her life and perhaps love too (824). She comes so far as to arriving at the ship station with Frank. But in the midst of all that was happening around her, she prayed to God to direct her, to show her what was her duty (824). This statement shows she is hit with utter confusion and is asking a supreme being for help as to what decision would best suit her future. Religion basically decides what is right for the family instead of going with her heart s desire, which is to have a better, respected life and gain love.
Religion also plays a very influential role in Young Good Brown s life because he claims to be a good Christian, but has a dream of being converted to practicing witchcraft and other evil practices. He dreams he goes into the wilderness to fulfill a mission of some sort. The wilderness could represent his dark side, which he wants hidden from the rest of God-fearing society. The mission could also represent his destiny with the devil and battling the good versus evil. Even his wife s name, which is Faith, links him to his hunger to remain faithful to Christianity. When he dreams his wife being led away by the witches to be a convert, he cries out Faith! Faith! Look up to heaven and resist the wicked one (129). This shows he still has some good or faith within him because he takes it upon himself to warn Faith of the evil she is about to conform with.
Religion affects Eveline s life because it makes her choose her family over a potential husband. Everyone wants to find love but how many would actually sacrifice all they had, whether its family or stability, just for the sake of love? Apparently, Eveline wouldn t forget her family because she lives by the phrase Blood is thicker than water . She feels her family, especially her father, needs her most because they have no mother to tend to their basic necessities such as buying clothes and preparing food. Religion affects her so much that it holds her back from exploring life and love outside of Ireland.
Religion affects Brown because he dreams of almost uniting with the devil and the witches though he is a practicing Christian. He finds himself battling between good and evil as he walks through into the wilderness. As he walks deeper into the forest, with the devil, he begins to worry that he has gone too far in. In other words, he fears he has fallen from the faith and tries to walk away to get right with God. However, he unconsciously continues to walk on till the witches try to make Faith a witch as well. Brown calls to her to flee from the wickedness. As soon as he wakes up from his dream filled slumber, he has the mindset that everyone, even his wife, are of a wicked nature. Because of the dream and his strong beliefs, he is convinced that everyone he knows is a hypocrite to the Christian faith and to Brown. Till his death, Brown leads a life of mental solitude, confiding in himself alone, because he believes everyone around him is evil.
The positive influence religion plays in Eveline s life is that she stays true to the promise she made with her mother. By staying she maintains stabile living and health conditions for the family s well being. However, the negative influence religion plays is that it deprives her of an opportunity to gain intimate love and happiness. Religion makes her pessimistic. It makes her fear the consequence of being the reason why her family fell apart and that she might not have a sense of security in Buenos Ayres. In regards to Brown s life, religion is the cause of his misery, so it is a negative influence. Brown could not differentiate his dream from reality, so till his death he distrusts everyone he associates with. He also becomes a hypocrite, as well, because he judges others harshly and considers himself the only righteous believer in the village. True Christians believe, however, that God is the only supreme judge and that no one has the right to look down upon another.
Thus, it is clear that Eveline and Brown s faith are put to the test. They question their actions and in doing so they look to God for the answer. Both of them have to resist some form of temptation to maintain a religious lifestyle. And both battle between what is good and evil or what is right and wrong for their future. In conclusion, Eveline and Brown chose to stay true to the faith though their stories end on a sad note.