"... it is no delusion. There is an Unpardonable Sin!" , a quote by Ethan Brand
that is at the root of many stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Nathaniel Hawthornes
gloomy, dark style of writing is an emphasis on his theme of evil at societies heart.
Writing about what he knew Hawthorne described the puritan society in different
periods of time and defined different characters but all connected through his style.
The stories that exemplify the diversity of Hawthornes writing are " Young Goodman
Brown" , " Ethan Brand" , and "The Birthmark" .
Having read these stories it is possible to become engrossed in the darkness
that is portrayed and none is better than " Young Goodman Brown" . Young Goodman
Brown, the character, is first introduced to us in the clearing of Salem village and
we learn that he has faith in the goodness of the village and Faith for his companion as
well. The people that we meet in Salem village in the first few paragraphs are just
Goodman and Faith. These two characters are very important to understand for their
surface characters or illusional characters. It is soon learned that Goodman Brown is
not such a good man and later Faith shows us just as much false character. Goodman
and Faith are not the only characters that are not all they seem to be. We come to
meet more characters in the short story that are superficial as is the village itself.
Goodman Brown leaves the bright, warm, goodness of his village to make a journey in
the woods to meet a stranger. A good place to meet a stranger would be these
surrounding woods of Salem for it is here that described by Nathaniel Hawthorne that
"He had taken a dreary road,darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately
behind." and like the scheming mind of an evil person the dark woods leads one
down the wrong pathway.
The woods are not an allusion as was the village, the woods are exactly what
they seem to be therefore the characters met inside the woods will be as shady as
the woods themselves. Leading Goodman Brown to his despair is the first character,
the stranger. The stranger is much older than the Goodman but the two converse easily
and both understand each other even though they talk around Goodmans evil
purpose. It is this easy conversation that Hawthorne writes to us about Goodmans evil.
Though Goodman Brown believes himself to be alone in his journey down
the trail the stranger tells him that it is a beaten path and has been taken even by his
father. So does the world that has been built up around Goodman Brown begin to
crumble and with the first blow he is set up for more devastation into the world of the
devil. " Wickedness or not, I have a very general acquaintance here in New England."
The devilish stranger explains how even the noblest of people have an evil in their
character and those who hide are those who are trusted the most. ...