The Goodness Of Mankind Essay

1882 words - 8 pages

I have decided to write my essay about how the different pieces of symbolism and the theme of Young Goodman Brown relates to what happened in America on September 11, 2001 and also to my own life in general. First of all, the theme that I picked up on from this story pertains to the idea that while it seems Goodman Brown may have resisted evil in the end, he lost something that can never be regained; his belief in the goodness of mankind. This particular theme touches exactly upon what happened in America on September eleventh. However, before I begin to discuss these things, I would like to talk about the symbolism seen throughout the story and what it means.The first piece of symbolism in the story was Hawthorne's play on the word Faith. While even though it was Brown's wife's name, Hawthorne consistently used it in the sense that it had to do with Brown's faith in God also. For example, when Goodman Brown says to his "love and my Faith" that "this one night I must tarry away from thee" (164), he is not only talking to his wife, but to his "faith" in God. He is venturing into the woods to meet with the Devil, and by doing so, he leaves his unquestionable faith in God with his wife. When Brown finally does meet up with the Devil, he says that the reason why he was late was because "Faith kept me back awhile." (165) This statement has a double meaning because his wife physically kept him from being on time for his meeting with the devil, but his faith in God psychologically delayed his meeting with the devil.One major irony in the story is one that deals with Brown's belief that he comes from a "race of honest men and good Christians" (165) and that his father had never gone on this errand and nor will he. The Devil is quick to point out however that he was with his father and grandfather when they were flogging a woman or burning an Indian village. This is ironic in that they were bad deeds done in the name of good and show that Brown, in fact, does not come from "good Christians." (165) Then, Brown and his companion come upon Goody Cloyse, a Christian woman who had taught Brown his catechism and who, in Brown's mind, was his moral and spiritual advisor. Yet when Goody Cloyse recognizes Brown's companion and cries out "the devil" (166) and later refers to him as "your worship" (167), Brown is shocked. In her Brown experiences the loss of his moral compass, but still manages to shake this off by saying, "What if a wretched old woman do choose to go to the devil, when I thought she was going to Heaven! Is that any reason I should quit my dear Faith, and go after her?"(167). Although Brown has become disheartened, he has yet to lose his faith.Yet, when Brown observes the minister and deacon secretly from behind a bush, he finds his faith shaken still again. These two "holy men" are the two people that Brown looks up to; they are the spiritual leaders of his community. At the sound of them discussing an unholy meeting deep in the forest, Brown...

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