Young Goodman Brown Analysis

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“Young Goodman Brown” “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne details the mysteriousness and misfortune of Goodman Brown’s numerous encounters with witchcraft and the devil. Goodman Brown comes face-to-face with a life altering experience when he meets a traveler on the road carrying a serpent staff, who leads him to a suspected witch by the name of Goody Cloyse. They resume their stroll on the road when Goodman Brown decides to take a rest on a tree stump. He ends up with the elder travelers staff, or so he thinks. It is very unclear as to whether his experience at the witch meeting was a dream, or reality. From one viewpoint, thinking literally, one might think of his encounter as a dream, the reason for this being that the mysterious shift in everyone’s identity took place during his rest. Also he woke up in the middle of the forest and walked back home noting that everyone still exhibited their Christian faith. From another viewpoint, however, his experience could be taken as not so literal, meaning that the encounter could have been a reality. The outside world around him could have been deceiving by him still being a follower of God, and this somehow could make him seem vulnerable. This way it would be easier for the village to prey upon him. Also tying in with his vulnerability, the entire witch meeting could have been a trick to intentionally try to destroy his life, by which I am not certain why they would. Both viewpoints make the interpretation of the story very ambiguous. Although one is inclined to believe that his experience at the witch meeting was a dream because of literal evidence, the non-literal viewpoint does make one challenge the innocence and honesty of the village. Ambiguity is related to the story’s theme directly with the Salem witch trials. The trials were held simply based upon made up beliefs about women,
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