Young Goodman Brown

1052 Words5 Pages
Humanity’s Frail Resolve in Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown Young Goodman Brown is a young man living in the Puritan society of Salem in Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown.” He is curiously led by a peculiar old man into the gloomy forest where he witnesses dire deeds committed by the very people he has been in contact with his entire life. After the ordeal, Goodman Brown’s perception of the townspeople, his wife and himself have all been completely twisted. His resolve is easily shattered as he, due to his religious practices and beliefs, cannot comprehend a life with sin and treachery. Hawthorne’s story describes many weak points in human nature that may result in a loss of self-righteousness and dignity. These mishaps, whether they be intentional or not, may often cloud judgment, or lead into false hope or aspiration. One such frailty in the human resolve takes the form of self-deceit, as humans tend to generate an ideal, constructed and localized viewpoint of their surrounds. It is often that these positions are adhere to and often are not deviated from. Before going on his trek with the old man, Goodman Brown defends the morality of his people by stating “We are a people of prayer, and good works to boot, and abide no such wickedness” (Hawthorne). Goodman Brown, coming from a family of piety and purity, believes that he and his fellow Puritan followers are incapable of great sin, and that none shall fall into wickedness or darkness. However, in human nature, it is inevitable that perceived acts of depravity are to be avoided, and with a self-supposed outlook on the environment this element of human nature does not come into perspective. When Goodman Brown witnesses the townspeople at the wretched ceremony, he declares each of them contemptible with his words, “But irreverently consorting with these grave, reputable, and pious people, these elders of
Open Document