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Psychoanalytic Criticism: Young Goodman Brown Essay

1113 words - 5 pages

“Young Goodman Brown” is written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a story based on human nature and the temptation to evil. During Goodman Brown’s journey into the woods with evil, he is repulsed by immortality, and becomes unaware of his involvement. Brown dreams about being encountered by evil because unconsciously he is scared of his own capabilities of evil like his forefathers. Goodman Brown engages in a defense mechanism, projection because he is paranoid of the evil he can conjure. From a psychoanalytic perspective Young Goodman Brown is a story about searching for self, which leads to gain and losses to the young seeker in the story.
In the beginning of the story Brown leaves his wife, ...view middle of the document...

He is furious on why Cloyse was not going to heaven and the devil chose her over him. Thus, the Devil tossed his staff to Goodman Brown transferring evil to Brown.
Next, Goodman Brown is appointed by a woman whom he automatically assumes it is Faith. He then begins to believe there is no good on earth anymore, his faith had been completely shattered. He willingly gives up on his faith and lets the staff guide him again: “with the instinct that guides mortal man to evil" (Hawthorne 334). Since Goodman Brown loses his faith, there is nothing keeping him from being consumed by evil itself.
As Goodman Brown awakes from his dream he is absolutely shattered and broken. in ‘Young Goodman Brown’ and The Psychology Of Projection Tritt states that, “The most common reading of the tale asserts Brown’s loss of faith, in himself and his fellows. Critics argue that, as a result of his nightmare experiences, Brown comes to believe all men corrupt and inevitably evil.” Although he tries to attempt to escape his unconscious, Brown projects his subconscious guilt by his dreams. He recognizes there is evil in the word, which men are attracted to.
The “misperception or “false perception” is manifest in two respects. First Brown locates his own evil in others. Second, and of greater significance to my argument, Brown believes himself to be without guilt, even though in fact, “the unsavory desire or trait is still in.. [his] subconscious.” Although Brown’s lifetime obsession with the guilt of others functions, then as a “mechanism defense… keeping off dangers” “...at all cost,” inevitably, the original anxiety remains festering within (The Psychology Of Projection).
Overall, Tritt specifies the psychoanalytic criticism of Young Goodman Brown and hits every point that has to be made clear in the story. The guilty conscious if he can have evil in him as well like his forefathers. Well, at first he didn’t because he was pure innocence, then after the errand with the devil he became acknowledgeable about the great evil in the world. Goodman Brown becomes unable to tell whether it is reality or a dream, making it the worst experience rather than a development process in which...

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