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Young Goodman Brown's Faith

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," Hawthorne introduces Goodman Brown, who doubts himself and restates his false confidence to himself repeatedly. His struggle between the evil temptations, the devil, and the proper church long-lasting life, is a struggle he does not think he can handle. This story is about a man who challenges his faith in himself and in the community in which he resides. Goodman Brown must take on a journey into the local forest, refuse the temptations of the devil, and return to the village before the sunrise.

The story is set in the forest of Salem, Massachusetts, around the time of the witch trials. Goodman Brown is a Puritan, and Salem is a Puritan village appears to be a good Christian community in the beginning of the story. Hawthorne once again criticizes a Puritan community or the religious community of his time through this short story. In this short story, Hawthorne criticizes the Puritans who take the words of the Bible literally, and who believe they are pure but inside the evil resides just as in the people they persecute.

The story begins with Goodman Brown leaving the house at sunset while his wife, Faith, trying to persuade Goodman Brown to depart at sunrise. Goodman Brown starts his journey to the darkness that a waits for him in the forest where Puritans believe the devil lives. Hawthorne seems to be using many symbols in the story, such as Goodman's wife Faith which symbolizes his real faith in God. Goodman Brown leaves his faith behind him and sets forth into his journey with his own strength and power. Although he felt guilty leaving his Faith back home in their early stage of marriage, he justifies this guilt by swearing that after this night he will "cling to her skirt and follow her to heaven." However, will there be another day for Goodman Brown to share his life with Faith. Although his faith, described with "pink ribbon," is sincere, pure, and innocent, is his will strong enough to walk though "a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest?" Goodman Brown believes nothing can tempt his faith, not even a devil.

Upon entering the forest he is suspicious of every rock and tree, thinking something evil will jump out at him. A man waits for Goodman Brown in the forest and then walks by Goodman's side. Although the narrator does not say this man is the devil, he indicates such when this man in the forest says, "The clock of the Old South was striking, as I came through Boston; and that is full fifteen minutes have gone," (25) and seems to have the supernatural power to move faster than normal humans. This man also has a staff in the shape of black snake, the symbol of darkness and evil. Goodman Brown follows the devil deep into the forest, not knowing what he would encounter, but he is very confident that he can handle it. The temptation of the devil has begun when Goodman Brown falls behind and the devil offers his staff for him to use. Goodman Brown simply rejects his offer and passes the first temptation.

Goodman Brown prides himself by telling the devil that he and

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