Goodman Brown staggers back to Salem the next morning, staring all around him like a crazy person. Returning to Salem Village, he must live with his new knowledge that religion and society mask darker impulses. When Hawthorne says the forest closes immediately behind Goodman, he is implying that evil is everywhere. The Journey Begins Goodman Brown is a young man who stays in Salem village with his wife, Faith. Welcome again, my children, to the communion of your race. Goodman Brown steps out of the forest.
However, he fails to consider that walking into the forest and speaking with the devil could harm his soul. Consequently, Nathaniel Hawthorne was the primary author who influenced me the most because I was able to connect and sympathize with the author. In the story, Goodman Brown is intent on setting out on a nighttime journey in lieu of staying home with his wife of three months, Faith. The deacon expresses excitement for a meeting that night, and says that there will be people there from all over New England, as well as some Indians who know a lot about deviltry and a young woman who will be inducted. They chant twisted versions of hymns and make ready to welcome the two new converts.
You've already noticed, of course, that Young Goodman Brown's name is a bit ironic - as the story progresses, he struggles to hold fast to his belief in the goodness of himself, his wife, society, and human nature. Doubt can act as a virus and eat you up, make you porous, spreading its venom inside you. Perhaps more important to understanding the short story than any other fact is a decision reached in 1692 by a group of Boston churchman. Since Goodman Brown looks to others for spiritual guidance rather than evaluate behavior for himself, this manipulation begins to work, corrupting his prior certainties. He is disturbed and shuns all of them, including his wife, whom he once treasured.
Also happening during this period was the end of the civil war, and the start of reconstruction. The three things focused on throughout the short story is Faith, the forest that Goodman Brown takes his journey through, and the staff, which the old man who leads Goodman Brown on his way carries. Goodman Brown begins to hear voices, and among them, the lamentations of Faith. When Goodman Brown finds them abandoned in the forest, the reader begins to suspect Faith's innocence has been lost. Faith in both senses of the word is the light in the story, the only way one can be saved, yet by walking into the forest which is a symbol for that which is dark and mysterious with a man who literally clings to the serpent an allegorical image for the Devil or evil incarnate Goodman is leaving behind his Faith and asking for the truth about who or what is good or evil. Thus, instead of basing our value system on what somebody else is following, we should preserve them in trying times even if others seem to be turning immoral.
In this he echoes the dominant point of view of seventeenth-century Puritans, who believed that the wild New World was something to fear and then dominate. The next moment, so indistinct were the sounds, he doubted whether he had heard aught but the murmur of the old forest, whispering without a wind. The forest represents evil and sin. The characters' names ultimately serve as a paradox in the conclusion of the story. The other voices seem to be encouraging Faith onward. Goodman Brown is never certain whether the evil events of the night are real, but it does not matter. Goodman Brown must choose whether to continue onward or turn back, the same choice he had to make at the threshold of his house.
The major theme is the loss of innocence. One of the remarkable facts of the Salem witch trials is that no one who confessed was hanged. But, the effects of sin remain, forever after tainting his opinion of good and evil. Is the world really as bad as we think it is? Goodman Brown tells her to say her prayers and go to sleep. After walking a while with the old stranger, Brown again wants to turn back. It also might reveal that he feels everyone is capable of some evil, even if they appear to be the most pious in the community.
It provides symbolism to certain events and provokes emotions amongst the characters, especially those of Goodman Brown. Faith's pink ribbon drifts down from the sky and catches on a tree branch. It would be like finding out politicians are corrupt, or professional athletes use steroids, or that college football coaches cheat. More and more people from the village, including the preacher and the governor's wife, filter through the woods. Goodman Brown finds himself suddenly alone in the forest, not knowing what happened to Faith.
Evil is the nature of mankind. Despite their similar appearance, the older man seems more worldly and at ease than Goodman Brown, as if he could sit comfortably at the dinner table of a governor or in the court of a King. She tells the devil that she is on her way to a ceremony in the forest hosted by the devil himself. The rest of his life is spent in misery as he thinks everyone is part of a another recurring theme in the works of Hawthore and when he dies, few are saddened. Family is a strong theme used by both Hawthorne and Monteverde. He also loses interest in praying to God.