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Young Goodman Brown as Creepy and Brilliant

Updated on December 3, 2016

Young Goodman Brown by: Nathaniel Hawthorne

The story begins with Young Goodman Brown going on an errand in the town of Salem, Massachusetts. The town is supposed to be the most cleansed in regards to eradicating evil. They discovered and burned witches there all the time.

In the story, his wife Faith wants him to delay this errand and come back. Brown is dead-set upon going on this errand that we are reading he goes on. He begins down a path. On the way to do this errand, he meets a stranger that makes him a staff for walking. After getting it, he continues on the path to do this errand as the day moves on to evening.

Later during the day, suddenly he can hear his wife Faith’s voice. He calls out to her and runs towards her voice. When he gets to her, he finds that the love of his life and he are expected to renounce their faith in God and convert to the Devil. Faith wants to go along with this. Overall, the entire town is worshiping the devil.

The events end with Young Goodman Brown crying out to Heaven for the strength to resist. He somehow gets away from there and ends up back in the town. He's very uneasy and disturbed by his wife Faith and the village people from then on out. It's unclear what he believes happened. He lives in gloom and dies in solitude.


The Creepy Brilliance

The story reflect the manipulation of the Devil and demons. This story successfully gives the reader a realization of how tricky the Devil can be.

The story starts on the premise that it could be a dream or it could be reality. Young Goodman Brown is a man of great faith, living with the love of his life, and in a seemingly wonderful town.

It seems to me that the Devil saw he couldn't ruin his faith in God, but he could ruin his life. He saw he could also ruin his faith in his relationship with Faith and his peace of mind.

The Devil in this story sought to turn his life gray and let his faith in God be the only thing he had. The event symbolized an ultimatum; live in a life of evil and be happy or live in sorrow with your faith in God. Choose God and be miserable or choose evil and live in happiness.

The discretion over people that the Devil can gain has always been spooky and dangerous to me. And the fact that Young Goodman Brown emerged from the forest with such strong feelings about what he witnessed as real, it had in turn determined his feelings about his relationship for the rest of his life. It was something he couldn't shake.

Ultimately, he was changed by what he saw when he had no reason at all to stop living his life in peace with his wife. This was the trickery and brilliance of the story.

The possibility that it happened or didn't, contributed to the turmoil he felt because of the event. The sneaky and evil portrayal of the Devil’s influence in this story is pushed to the back of Young Goodman Brown's mind and the reader's also. In that the reader may actually believe that they just read the truth about this town.

What we have is that his life was, in the end, torn apart by the Devil's influence, and also by himself because of his own uncertainty and feelings about what he experienced. Brown never really could be sure it happened or didn't happen, then again, neither can the reader.

The illusion that his life was not what it seemed could have been an elaborate and clever lie. The event could have been a premonition or dream only sent to cause him to lose the peace of mind and great relationship he had with Faith his wife.

Ultimately, he became a life-long sucker through the trickery of a cruel lie by the Devil, who used the trickery of possibility. He couldn't be at peace because he didn't know if he saw a lie or the truth.

And so, it was his fault that he chose not to live in peace. In this sense, the Devil provided a vision and used Brown's sorrow and uncertainty to destroy his life instead of his faith.

Last Note

I've never taken it lightly what happened to Young Goodman Brown in this story. I was 16 years old when I read it. It was one of the masterpieces I have read with several of Edgar Allan Poe’s works. I swiftly recognized the deceit in the story, and I do believe it was deceit created to make him use his own will to destroy any happiness and comfort he had in his life.

I just thought I would share my idea and understanding with everyone, and point out that this is a truly great story.


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    • SonQuioey10 profile image

      Toni Northern 5 years ago from Williamston NC

      Thank you, it's written in a type of Canterbury english-type way, so you can get lost. I love horror too, it's my past-time with sports. On the hub is a link that should take you to the story and allow you to read it. Thanks again.

    • SonQuioey10 profile image

      Toni Northern 5 years ago from Williamston NC

      Thanks, it's a great story, it'll creep you out.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

      I must admit that I have never read this story. I am not a big fan of creepy or scary stories but I am now intrigued. I think that I will have to check this one out. Thanks for sharing your interpretation and congrats on your Hubnugget nomination.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Creepy stories make me scared....okay I admit I'm such a baby...heheh but your review made me curious about this and your thoughts on it. :)

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! This link will show you the details and where you can vote too!

    • SonQuioey10 profile image

      Toni Northern 5 years ago from Williamston NC

      @ElizaDoole, thank you for reading. It was confusing at first, I thought the story was filled with only symbolism but I had to give some thought to all areas of it. The devil, his trickery and the destruction of faith in men was a notion I just couldn't shake.

    • ElizaDoole profile image

      Lisa McKnight 5 years ago from London

      Nice summary of the book. Your passion for understanding literature shines through.

    • SonQuioey10 profile image

      Toni Northern 5 years ago from Williamston NC

      That's interesting. I've felt also that the story is more premonition-based, in the symbolism of his path, his faith, his religion and the truth.

      Thanks for reading.

    • shea duane profile image

      shea duane 5 years ago from new jersey

      Great hub. I've always loved Hawthorne,and especially Young Goodman Brown. My take on it is a bit different from yours, though. I think Hawthorne is connecting the attitudes of puritanicals with the wicked rituals of the forests. When he says, I lost my faith, I think he means he lost his faith in the hypocracy of puritanical behaviors and false superiority. I think Brown divorces himself from his society because he no longer feels his beliefs and those of his society will connect him to God. He doesn't know how to be spiritual and looses faith, his inner faith, his wife and his faith in his religion. Great hub. Thanks for writing it.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I have not read the story.I do have a collection of Hawthorn around somewhere. I should read more of him. Your analysis seems sound.