Loss Of Faith In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1076 words - 4 pages

Loss of Faith in Young Goodman Brown

   In the Bible, God commands Moses to go up Mount Sinai to receive divine instruction.    When he comes back, his people, the Israelites, have gone crazy.  They have forgotten Moses, and forgotten their God.  They form their own god, a golden calf, and build an altar.  They even had a festival for the golden calf.  "Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and sat down to indulge in revelry" (Exodus 32:6).  Moses then went down the mountain and got so angry that he smashed the tablets with the Ten Commandments on them.   The Israelites lost faith because they could not see the God they were worshipping, so they forgot him and began worshipping a false idol.  The Israelites are not very different from modern man.  In his short story, "Young Goodman Brown," Hawthorne shows why man loses faith.  Man loses faith because of pride, weakness, and erroneous values.


            Pride causes man to lose faith.  Often man tries to handle situations on his own.  He seeks to contend with evil by himself.   In "Young Goodman Brown," the title character becomes crazy and confronts evil, "Come witch, come wizard, come Indian powwow, come devil himself! And here comes Goodman Brown.  You may as well fear him as he fear you!" (Hawthorne  324). Goodman Brown feels that he will be the demise of sin.  He assumes that he is strong enough to conquer it all single-handedly.  Pride also prevents man from realizing his own imperfections.  When wandering in the wilderness, Young Goodman Brown says, "A marvel, truly, that Goody Cloyse should be so far in the wilderness at nightfall" (Hawthorne  320).  The wilderness symbolizes any sinful place.  Young Goodman Brown fails to realize that the only reason he can see Goody Cloyse in the wilderness is that he is there also. Pride also makes man seek knowledge he does not need.   The Devil carries a staff that "bore the likeness of a great black snake" (Hawthorne  318).  Hawthorne uses this as a reference to the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible.  The serpent in the Bible led Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge.  Eating from this tree barred Adam and Eve from paradise (Genesis 3).  The staff in "Young Goodman Brown" leads Goodman Brown to the ceremony in the forest.  Goodman Brown's faith is destroyed after the ceremony.  Later Goodman Brown declares that he comes from "a race of honest men and good Christians" (Hawthorne  318).  The Devil reminds him of all of the wrong that these men have done.  This causes loss in faith because Young Goodman realizes that all of his forefathers have done bad deeds in the name of good.   Pride causes man to lose faith. 


            Man also loses faith because of erroneous values.  Man often believes that good deeds can erase evil deeds.  Young Goodman Brown's young wife, Faith, symbolizes man's religion.  Before leaving for his evil deed in the forest, Young Goodman Brown says, "After this one night I'll cling to her skirts...

Find Another Essay On Loss of Faith in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

Symbolism,Characterization, and Faith in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

937 words - 4 pages Symbolism,Characterization, and Faith in  Young Goodman Brown      Faith is believing what you can’t see or touch. Faith is knowing something especially when there is no proof to back it up. “Young Goodman Brown” is a story about a man who leaves his wife, Faith, home alone for a night while he journeys with the devil down the road of temptation. During the course of his journey, the man sees many people who seem out of place, including

Faith in Young Goodman Brown Essay

1097 words - 4 pages Faith in Young Goodman Brown In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," Hawthorne introduces Goodman Brown, who doubts himself and reiterates his false confidence to himself repeatedly. His struggle between the evil temptations, the devil, and the proper church abiding life, is a struggle he does not think he can handle. This story is about a man who challenges his faith in himself and in the community in which he resides. Goodman

Allegorical Analysis of Faith in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown"

806 words - 3 pages In "Young Goodman Brown" Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism to effectively create the desired allegorical context. Having been published in 1835, the lasting effect of 17th century Puritanism played a significant role in the short story as it did in The Scarlet Letter and other works by Hawthorne as well (Shoemaker). Among the most commendable aspects of Hawthorne's writing is his obscure style that allows the reader to make his own

Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

685 words - 3 pages Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" is full of symbolism throughout the story. Perhaps the most interesting examples of symbolism include the title character, Young Goodman Brown, as well as his wife, Faith, and the woods that Young Goodman Brown enters on his journey. Included are many allusions to Christianity and also to evil and sin. These references are expressed mainly

Sin in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2509 words - 10 pages   Puritan doctrine taught that all men are totally depraved. And the young Puritan Goodman Brown accepted this principle, after his in-the-woods experience, as applying not only to the Salem village rank-and-file but even to his faultless wife Faith. Is this notion of sin correct? This essay seeks to compare this moral depravity doctrine of the Puritans as seen in “Young Goodman Brown” to the Catholic Church’s teaching on sin, a recognized

An Analysis of Theme in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

943 words - 4 pages Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his short story “Young Goodman Brown,” details the frailty of human morality when he has the story’s protagonist (Goodman Brown) journey through the forest on All Hollows Eve to witness/participate in a witches’ Sabbath just to see what evil/sin is all about. During Young Goodman Brown’s journey, his faith is shaken as he witnesses those he respects the most also journeying to and participating in the witch’s Sabbath

Hawthorne's use of the narrator in Young Goodman Brown

777 words - 3 pages In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," the story is told through the eyes of a limited omniscient third-person narrator. This style is very accommodating to the story because it allows the author perfect opportunities to express his points. The narrator can both describe what Goodman Brown is doing, and also evaluate and comment on the characters actions. This is a tool of the author to use the narrator to express his own personal

Characterization in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2898 words - 12 pages two-dimensional characters as are generally found in “Young Goodman Brown.” These type characters are built on a “single idea or quality” and are presented without much “individualizing detail” (Abrams 33). Faith, of course, represents or symbolizes the theological virtue of faith; Goody Cloyse, as a catechism teacher, represents “goodness”; the unnamed fellow-traveller in the woods is symbolic of “evil.” Q. D. Leavis explains this symbolic use

Theme in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1775 words - 7 pages goodly young woman to be taken into communion."   There remains but one pure source of faith in the life of the protagonist, and that is his wife Faith: “’With Heaven above, and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil!’ cried Goodman Brown.” But shortly this last bastion of goodness is consumed by evil, as one of Faith’s ribbons falls from a cloud whence evil voices come:   But something fluttered lightly down through

Literary Motifs in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1849 words - 7 pages something. The young Goodman Brown, at the beginning of the story, takes leave of his wife, Faith, in order to journey into the woods where he keeps an appointment with the devil: "My love and my Faith," replied young Goodman Brown, "of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee. My journey, as thou callest it, forth and back again, must needs be done 'twixt now and sunrise.”    The journey continues circuitously through

Ambiguity in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1847 words - 7 pages Ambiguity in “Young Goodman Brown”             There is no end to the ambiguity in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”; this essay hopes to explore this problem.   Peter Conn in “Finding a Voice in an New Nation” makes a statement regarding Hawthorne’s ambiguity:    Almost all of Hawthorne’s finest stories are remote in time or place. The glare of contemporary reality immobillized his imagination. He required

Similar Essays

Faith In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1113 words - 4 pages trunks and the thick boughs overhead, so that with lonely footsteps he may yet be passing through an unseen multitude.” (Hawthorne 198). As Brown wanders down the dark foreboding path that closes behind him, the potential for spiritual danger arises, foreshadowing the loss of his spiritual faith. In the forest, Young Goodman Brown meets with a man who is hinted as the devil. Upon their meeting, the devil comes out and asks Goodman Brown what took him

Blind Faith In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

939 words - 4 pages Young Goodman Brown:  Blind Faith Is it possible for a man to be SO hypnotized by faith that he is incapable of apprehending the truth that surrounds him? Yes. The principle of faith centers heavily around the confident belief of an idea set by a person or community. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," the faith of an individual conflicts with the faith of the community. The story takes place during the period where all devoted

Essay On Loosing Faith In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

637 words - 3 pages Loosing Faith in Young Goodman Brown   Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, Young Goodman Brown is a story of sex, sin, and the Devil, all the entertaining things in life. Hawthorne uses many literary devices to impress strength in his work. Hawthorne uses these techniques to bring out the religious themes within the story. One of the main literary devices would be imagery. One of the most important images found in the story pertains to Faith

Essay On Faith In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

720 words - 3 pages Faith in Young Goodman Brown        For those who have not studied the Puritans or their beliefs, Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" is not much more than a story of lost (or maybe just confused) faith. Hawthone, a man of puritan descent, had some oppositions to the ideals that Puritans followed. Some of these ideals are discussed in his "Young Goodman Brown".                 The basic impression that most people have of