The Evil in Young Goodman Brown
In my interpretation of the story, I will be discussing three main topics: the beginning conversation with Faith, the devilish character, and Brown’s wife’s meaning in the story. Young Goodman Brown is about to take a journey like many others before him, across the threshold separating the young unknowing boys and the elderly sages. This, however, will not be without peril, because aging is a testing process defined by trial and error, and the errors’ prices are sometimes significant.
This errand he is undertaking has an evil purpose. It seems as though this night has been foreseen long ago by both Faith and Goodman Brown. The wife begs him that, of all nights, he should stay this one home because she senses trouble. The purpose of the journey is not discussed, because it is the passage between boyhood and maturing. It doesn’t really have an evil purpose if he journeys to mature, but it is described as evil because he goes into uncharted heathen forests. He replies to young Faith that of all nights, he has to depart on this night, and that his journey has to take place between dusk and dawn. She dreamt about this night, and he is self conscious about leaving her alone. When finally meeting the satanic character in the forest, he explains his lateness with “Faith kept me back a while”, which of course has a dual meaning. Either his wife kept him back, or his faith in goodness. The name Goodman Brown implies a naïve innocence, an unknowing farm boy. Tonight, he is going to grow.
The old companion that meets him in the forest looks similar to him, as if they were father and son. Goodman describes him as a man that would know the world, a man who would not feel uncomfortable at the governor’s dinner-table, or King-William’s court. His personality is very complex and mysterious. Certainly, he is a very good speaker and a good persuader, convincing this Brown whenever he had doubts and steering him towards...