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A Stranger In The Wood

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A Stranger in the Wood

Nathanel Hawthorns "Young goodman brown" holds the story of a young puritan man who decides to take a walk on the wild side and vist a coven of witches in the middle of the night. In the beging of this short story the reader is confronted with a mysterious and shady figure of a stranger who helps Brown along his path to damnation. Although never stated outright, the stranger is shown to use to be the devil throught Hawthorns use of elements of literature such as, foreshadowing, irony, and symbolism.

The first time in the story when Hawthron uses the elements of literature to clue in the reader to the strangers real identity is when Brown is first begining his trek throught the forest and begins to get frightened about indians hiding in the forest. "There may be a devilish Indian behind every tree,' said Goodman Brown to himself; and he glanced fearfully behind him as he added, 'What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow" (Hawthorn 874). In the very next paragraph the stranger appears before brown and begins to walk at his elbow.

The second time that Hawthorn uses the elements of literature to convey the strangers identy to the reader is when then stranger confronts goodman brown about being late for thier meeting. "'You are late, Goodman Brown." said he. "The clock of the Old South wa striking as I came through Boston , and that is full fifteen minutes agone" (Hawthorn 874). This is evident that the stranger is not a normal human, nay even human at all. The story of young goodman brown is set in the town of salem massechutes, which is a good 40 miles difference. If the stranger where a normal human there is no possible way for him to have accomplished this feat on foot considering that the average humans run at speeds of anywhere between 3 and 15 miles an hour. Even by horse this feat seems impossible seeing how the best thoroughbreed racing horses top out at around fourty miles an hour in full sprint.

The next time Hawthorn uses an element of literature to hint to the reader is when Goodman Brown notices the staff that is being carried by the stranger in the woods. "But the only thing about him that could be fixed upon as remarkable was his staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent. This, of course, must have been an occular deception assisted by uncertain light" (Hawthorn 875). This staff is a symbol of the true nature



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