The Young Goodman Brown Analysis and Plot

The story “Young Goodman Brown” is a perfect representation of good and evil in society. Young Goodman faces many of “devils” throughout his journey. Author Nathaniel Hawthorne, uses Goodman as a figure for human nature and society as a whole. Which things like, devils, to show the evil that has been with Goodman that whole time. The people around him bring that out in him (minister and his group).

Their relation to Goodman turns out to be pretty wild. Brown wants to get away from these people, but he gives into a darker side (Evil) that seems somewhat scary.

It even turns into a battle of him vs. an army of dark thoughts which were the people from his town. The man lured him in and even fuels him with the staff in which he gave Goodman, symbolizing the side effects of evil on you. Like throwing water on a grease fire.

One thing that I thought was funny was the man with the staff (Devil) is literally a guide to evil because he helps tries to offer young Goodman Brown the staff.

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Most of us in seeing leaders as people that will lead us towards the good, but this man will lead Goodman Brown towards nothing but sin and a future full of nothing. Brown starts to see almost everyone from the village at this spot in the woods, which is in my eyes showing him the evil that everyone has. Even though he wanted to turn back to them at the start now shows a different view on the people he’s around.

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Faith the symbolic of the faith itself. He believes that she is faith and wants to return back into the woods on his trip. He knows that it is bad, but feels it necessary to face his ultimate evil. He claims when he makes it back he will “cling to her skirt and even die next to her.” Why is “Goodman Brown” testing his faith? Is it not good enough to just stay with the faith you have known? Why must he see this altered viewpoint of his society? Brown believes he can overcome any bump along this road on his evil journey to find truth.

The setting of the forest is a place of darkness, symbolizing one's path for the journey through life. Faith, Goodman Brown's wife, the symbol of actual faith along his trip. Brown wants to believe he can live his life the way he wants, but investigate 'sin,' and then come back to Faith when he is ready. But is taken over and pushes her away.

Goodman brown symbolizes young men that are very easily tempted to do anything and are very ready to do it, this was a trip to hell, the forest home of the devil. Which most people in that time period believe in, that was their religion.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, uses the people throughout the “Goodman Brown” journey to show the evil and good in life. Young Goodman Brown analysis shows us how the people have thoughts of doing something that’s good or maybe even a reality check that brings them back, but there will always be something evil trying to pull you in and bring you down or even take you with them into the darkness in which they live. The key tool used in the story is symbolizing the characters as things and people in his everyday life trying when the whole story though they were his safe haven.

Updated: Feb 28, 2024
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The Young Goodman Brown Analysis and Plot. (2024, Feb 28). Retrieved from

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