Character development is an important aspect of short stories, and both the main characters in Paul’s Case and Young Goodman Brown evolved dramatically as their stories unfolded. Paul’s Case is a coming to age novel written by Willa Cather, which tells the story of Paul, a troubled teenager, as he struggles with his environment. Young Goodman Brown is a Puritan novel written by internationally acclaimed author Nathaniel Hawthorne that illustrates one incident a young man named Young Goodman Brown experienced that changed his perception on humanity forever. As each story progressed, both Paul and Goodman Brown went through life-changing events that completely destroyed their visions of the world. Both novels are written in third person omniscience, so we can comprehend what each character is experiencing and the emotions they are going through during these incidents. Paul’s suicide and Goodman Brown’s misanthropic transformation exemplified them as dynamic characters, as both proved to be completely different persons at the end of their stories.
Young Goodman Brown goes through a fundamental transformation in Young Goodman Brown, as he loses his faith in humanity through one surreal experience he encounters. At the beginning of the novel, Goodman Brown is a God-loving Puritan who lives with his beloved new wife, Faith, in the town of Salem. He is on an unknown errand, and travels into the woods in the middle of the night. Goodman Brown meets up with a shady companion, and together they travel deeper into the woods, where they witness a satanic gathering containing the minister, priest, Indians, and everyone in town. Goodman Brown sees Faith being inducted as a newest member of this satanic cult, and screams for Faith to resist, and later faints. When he wakes up the next day, he begins to distrust everyone around him, and lives the rest of his life suspicious of everyone, including his wife Faith. Although many evidence tells us that this incident might be the result of a dream, it still manages to affect Goodman Brown to the point that he becomes a “darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man,” for the rest of his life. The Puritans believed in a specific sect of Calvinism, which states that there is nothing humans can do to obtain salvation, and only by God’s choosing can some people go to heaven. Our actions on Earth can display whether we are saved or not, and Goodman Brown most likely concluded that everyone in his town, including Faith, is damned after his incident in the forest. Whether the satanic occurrence actually happened or not, Goodman Brown’s recognizes that he might be the only one in Salem who is saved, and keeps this belief until he dies. We can argue that “Young” Goodman Brown has lost much of his innocence and “faith” in humanity based on this incident, which leads us to conclude Goodman Brown as a successful dynamic character.
Paul goes through a different but significant character...