Young Goodman Brown Summery

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Young Goodman Brown Summery

Post by Rachid Amri on Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:56 pm

Nathaniel Hawthorne was concerned with Puritan society and in particular the role that his ancestors took in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. In his short story, Young Goodman Brown, Hawthorne explores the nature of evil and original sin in the setting of a Puritan community.

An Unexplained but Important Journey
The story opens with Young Goodman Brown leaving his house in Salem village. He pauses to kiss his wife, Faith, who begs him to stay home because she is troubled by dreams. Brown replies that his trip cannot be delayed and leaves. As he turns, his wife calls out “God bless you!” and he carries away an image of her with her pink ribbons watching him leave.

Goodman Brown feels bad about leaving Faith and tells himself that after tonight he will be a perfect husband and cling to her skirts all the way to heaven.

Meeting
Brown hurries into the forest. He is fearful and thinks that there is possibly a ‘devilish Indian behind every tree’ and perhaps the devil stands at his elbow. Soon he sees the figure of a man. Brown doesn’t recognize him as the devil because he is decently attired. The devil chastises Brown for being late and Brown’s ironic reply is that “Faith kept me back awhile.”

While the older man resembles Brown, he is has an air of worldliness and carries a staff that resembles a living snake. Goodman Brown is troubled and remarks that no other member of his family has taken such a journey and expresses his intention to return home. However, the old man convinces him to continue with him and passes the time by telling Brown how he had helped his forefathers commit crimes of genocide and persecution. He also shares with Brown the unsavory exploits of various highly ranked Puritans from Salem.
Overheard Conversations
Soon they see Goody Cloyse, a virtuous old lady from Brown’s village, walking ahead of them. Goodman Brown is ashamed and hides, while his companion changes his appearance to that of Brown’s father. Brown is amazed to hear the conversation between them. They converse about a witch’s recipe and discuss the meeting that will be held later that night. When they part, the Devil gives Goody Cloyse his walking stick so that she can travel on more quickly.

The Devil attempts to lure Brown foreword but Brown refuses, intending to return home. Brown soon hears riders approaching and hides himself. He recognizes the riders’ voices as those of his minister and Deacon Gookin. They are discussing the meeting and are excited about a young woman who will be joining them.

Vow of Defiance
Young Goodman Brown attempts to remain faithful to what he believes and cries out to the sky “With Heaven above, and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil.” While he gazes upward, Brown notices a swiftly moving cloud crossing the sky. From within the cloud he hears voices of people he knows from Salem village. Then, to his dismay, he hears Faith’s voice. He cries out to her and all he hears in reply is her scream, which is drowned out by voices and laughter. As the cloud disappears, he sees a pink ribbon fall from the sky.

Brown cries out in dismay “My Faith is gone!” and feels that all good is futile and embraces the dark side of his nature. In anger and sorrow, he rushes towards his dark fate.

The Meeting
Despite his intentions, he hides in the shadows when he reaches the meeting. The congregants are gathered near a rough pulpit. The congregants include the most devout Puritans and the most devout sinners standing shoulder to shoulder. At first, Brown doesn’t see his wife and he wonders where Faith was and “and hope came into his heart.”

The dark congregation sings and then the leader of the meeting calls “Bring forth the converts!” Brown steps forward and as he moves forward he thinks he sees the shape of his dead father beckoning him and a woman who might be his mother warning him away. Soon he sees two old women who are on opposite ends of the spectrum of perceived goodness leading out a veiled female figure. One woman is Goody Cloyse who is known as a pious woman and the other is Martha Carrier who has a promise from the devil that she will be queen of hell.

When both Brown and the female stand before the leader he has them look at the congregation behind them and he tells of the misdeeds of the people they see standing before them. Then he has them look at each other and Brown discovers that he is standing next to Faith.

Brown rebels and just before they receive the baptism he cries to his wife to look to heaven and defy the Wicked One.

After the Meeting
When Goodman Brown cries out, the congregation vanishes and he finds himself alone in the forest. The next morning he walks slowly into town and sees the people from the night before piously going about their daily business. As he turns down his street he sees Faith standing at the window with pink ribbons on her bonnet.

He does not know if she obeyed his warnings. In fact, he doesn’t know if the events of that fateful night really occurred or if he just dreamed them. Whatever happened to him that night, he was a changed, unhappy man. He lived a long life and was followed to his grave by a long procession of people but there was no hopeful verse on his tomb because his life was without hope because he had lived his life surrounded by people who he believed were blasphemous.

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Re: Young Goodman Brown Summery

Post by Nada Mrabet AB on Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:32 pm

Plot Overview

Goodman Brown says goodbye to his wife, Faith, outside of his house in Salem Village. Faith, wearing pink ribbons in her cap, asks him to stay with her, saying that she feels scared when she is by herself and free to think troubling thoughts. Goodman Brown tells her that he must travel for one night only and reminds her to say her prayers and go to bed early. He reassures her that if she does this, she will come to no harm. Goodman Brown takes final leave of Faith, thinking to himself that she might have guessed the evil purpose of his trip and promising to be a better person after this one night.

Goodman Brown sets off on a road through a gloomy forest. He looks around, afraid of what might be behind each tree, thinking that there might be Indians or the devil himself lurking there. He soon comes upon a man in the road who greets Goodman Brown as though he had been expecting him. The man is dressed in regular clothing and looks normal except for a walking stick he carries. This walking stick features a carved serpent, which is so lifelike it seems to move.

The man offers Goodman Brown the staff, saying that it might help him walk faster, but Goodman Brown refuses. He says that he showed up for their meeting because he promised to do so but does not wish to touch the staff and wants to return to the village. Goodman Brown tells the man that his family members have been Christians and good people for generations and that he feels ashamed to associate with him. The man replies that he knew Goodman Brown’s father and grandfather, as well as other members of churches in New England, and even the governor of the state.

The man’s words confuse Goodman Brown, who says that even if this is so, he wants to return to the village for Faith’s sake. At that moment, the two come upon an old woman hobbling through the woods, and Goodman Brown recognizes Goody Cloyse, who he knows to be a pious, respected woman from the village. He hides, embarrassed to be seen with the man, and the man taps Goody Cloyse on the shoulder. She identifies him as the devil and reveals herself to be a witch, on her way to the devil’s evil forest ceremony.

Despite this revelation, Goodman Brown tells the man that he still intends to turn back, for Faith’s sake. The man says that Goodman Brown should rest. Before disappearing, he gives Goodman Brown his staff, telling him that he can use it for transport to the ceremony if he changes his mind. As he sits and gathers himself, Goodman Brown hears horses traveling along the road and hides once again.

Soon he hears the voices of the minister of the church and Deacon Gookin, who are also apparently on their way to the ceremony. Shocked, Goodman Brown swears that even though everyone else in the world has gone to the devil, for Faith’s sake he will stay true to God. However, he soon hears voices coming from the ceremony and thinks he recognizes Faith’s voice. He screams her name, and a pink ribbon from her cap flutters down from the sky.

Certain that there is no good in the world because Faith has turned to evil, Goodman Brown grabs the staff, which pulls him quickly through the forest toward the ceremony. When he reaches the clearing where the ceremony is taking place, the trees around it are on fire, and he can see in the firelight the faces of various respected members of the community, along with more disreputable men and women and Indian priests. But he doesn’t see Faith, and he starts to hope once again that she might not be there.

A figure appears on a rock and tells the congregation to present the converts. Goodman Brown thinks he sees his father beckoning him forward and his mother trying to hold him back. Before he can rethink his decision, the minister and Deacon Gookin drag him forward. Goody Cloyse and Martha Carrier bring forth another person, robed and covered so that her identity is unknown. After telling the two that they have made a decision that will reveal all the wickedness of the world to them, the figure tells them to show themselves to each other. Goodman Brown sees that the other convert is Faith. Goodman Brown tells Faith to look up to heaven and resist the devil, then suddenly finds himself alone in the forest.

The next morning Goodman Brown returns to Salem Village, and every person he passes seems evil to him. He sees the minister, who blesses him, and hears Deacon Gookin praying, but he refuses to accept the blessing and calls Deacon Gookin a wizard. He sees Goody Cloyse quizzing a young girl on Bible verses and snatches the girl away. Finally, he sees Faith at his own house and refuses to greet her. It’s unclear whether the encounter in the forest was a dream, but for the rest of his life, Goodman Brown is changed. He doesn’t trust anyone in his village, can’t believe the words of the minister, and doesn’t fully love his wife. He lives the remainder of his life in gloom and fear.
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