February 11, 2018
Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown gives a fine look at the internal struggle
between good and evil. On one hand you have Browns wife Faith the symbolic quintessence of
faith itself. He entrusts his faith with her when he decides to tarry away into the woods on his
errand He knows the errand is bad but feels it necessary to ensure his faith. He claims when he
makes it back he will cling to her skirt and follow her to Heaven. But why must he test his faith?
Is it not good enough to just posses faith? Brown thinks he can overcome any tests of his
faith on his journey. When he gets more than he bargained for Brown is forever changed. His
faith wasnt as solid as he had thought. As Brown decides to make the trip from his home he must
leave his Faith behind, even though she pleads with him to stay. He feels bad for leaving her to
go on such an evil mission.
But he reassures him self with the fact that he will prevail in his journey and be back to
Faith soon enough. It is obvious there is a great deal of symbolism in the idea of Faith. She is
more than his wife; she is symbolic of his faith in God as well. In the Puritan society his journey
alone would mean damnation. He was going to consort with the Devil. His purpose possibly
virtuous, but blasphemous just the same.
When Brown met with the Devil it was easy at first, for him to resist his offering. When
he was offered the staff of the Devil, which was symbolic of him taking the guidance of evil, it
was easy for him to refuse, making it clear that he had no intention of taking the guidance he had
been offered. Even when he was made aware his own family was formally in cahoots with the
Devil he held steadfast to his convictions of faith. He explained he would not be able to look the
minister in the eye if he were to continue. The sly devil relentless, makes light of the claims of
Brown by laughing at them. Brown then finds him self making excuses.
He couldn’t do it to Faith. Then a great surprise came. There appeared an old woman on
the path it was Goody Clouse, Browns catechism teacher. Brown witnesses her allegiance to the
Devil first-hand. If some one of this stature can claim allegiance how can Brown resist?
He draws his faith from Goody Clouse and the others from the church and if she truly has
none how can he? So with this Brown refuses to go any further. He can write off Goody Clouse,
but refuses to quit on Faith. So the Devil concedes and leaves his staff for Goodman Brown in
case he wishes to continue. Goodman Browns faith is being tested here in the ultimate way. He
now rests all his faith, in Faith. He still has her and it seems now that that is what he must depend
on. So he sat and was relieved in knowing he had succeeded in staring down the Devils devious
temptations. He had no intention of continuing with the Devils staff. Then he witnessed the
impossible the minister and Deacon Gookin where on there way to the Devils meeting. How...