Blind Faith In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

939 words - 4 pages

Young Goodman Brown:  Blind Faith

Is it possible for a man to be SO hypnotized by faith that he is incapable of apprehending the truth that surrounds him? Yes. The principle of faith centers heavily around the confident belief of an idea set by a person or community. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," the faith of an individual conflicts with the faith of the community. The story takes place during the period where all devoted Puritans adopt Calvinism; Goodman Brown being one of them. Calvinism presents the idea that all men are born sinful because of Original Sin. That is, all men are essentially evil within. Moreover, it preaches once man has sin, he is "incapable of any spiritual good" (Hanko 2). Goodman Brown himself is a Puritan, but he is unable to see the dark side of human nature that runs parallel to the faith of his community. The faith that he has is unique to him, thus resulting in the rejection of reality. I FEEL IT IS A LITTLE BIT SUDDEN HERE WHEN YOU TURN TO THE THESIS FROM THE DISCUSSION ABOVE. MAYBE USE A TRANSITION? In the story, Hawthorne uses the imagery of nature to develop the theme of appearance vs. reality. DO NOT  START WITH THE WORDS "IN THE STORY" OR "I BELIEVE" OR “I SAY”. I say this because the forest plays a role in exposing the reality that Goodman Brown rejects. He went in a deceived man and exits with a shocking new view. Another use of nature is the serpent, which is quite an appropriate symbol for deception.

            The forest INSTEAD OF FOREST, SPECIFY THE SUBJECT LIKE PATH represents Goodman Brown's foreshadowing perception of human nature as evil. The path through the dark woods is itself symbolic of his naive perception of human beings as "angelic." Filled with "innumerable trunks and thick boughs" (HAWTHORNE -GIVE AN AUTHOR'S LAST NAME 197), the path suggests the obscure and misleading views WHAT ARE HIS VIEWS? Brown has on mankind. Feeling his way through the dark wilderness and anticipating the evil that is lurking ahead, Brown is like an innocent student yearning for knowledge. In this case, knowledge is facing the fact that "evil is the nature of mankind" (HAWTHORNE 205), as the mysterious traveler puts it. During the journey, the dark figure "[plucks] a branch of maple and [begins] to strip it of the twigs and little boughs" for a walking stick that was later given to Brown (200). The stripping of the branch signifies the "stripping" of Brown's faith DEAL WITH ONLY PATH-FOCUS ON ONE SUBJECT, thus foretelling his inevitable yield to reality. Another way nature plays a role in pulling down the curtain of deception is the fact that the path is narrow at the beginning of the journey and then comes to a...

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