Madison Wiertzema Honors English 10 Mr. Ripley 31 Oct 2018 Young Goodman Brown Analysis Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story Young Goodman Brown adopts the dream fantasies of Goodman Brown’s experiences to help develop the story around what Brown thinks is occurring. Satan is able to pry into Brown’s fear and makes a connection to create a disbelief of his faith. Satan is successfully able to manipulate Brown into questioning his faith and opinions he has on the townspeople and make him doubt what he’s experiencing. The first piece of evidence that Brown is not actually experiencing what he thinks he is occurring happens when he has his first encounter with Satan, and he makes a connection with Brown to earn his trust. “Well said, Goodman Brown! I have been as well acquainted with your family as with ever a one among the Puritans; and that’s no trifle to say. I helped your grandfather, the constable, when he lashed the Quaker woman so smartly through the streets of Salem; and it was I that brought your father… Satan was attempting to create a connection with Brown to build trust and enter Brown’s thoughts. The process worked because Brown began to question what he believed about his families past. The newly formed connection he had with Satan helped him make the decision to enter the woods. The was the first step of Satan’s lies affecting Brown, because Brown caused disbelief within himself, which later in the story allowed him to question his experiences, and dream about events he thought were occurring that actually weren’t. The second piece of evidence that indicates Brown fell into Satan’s lies occurs when he believes he is seeing things but has no visual evidence. On came the hoof tramps and the voices of the riders, two grave old voices, conversing soberly as they drew near.
These mingled sounds appeared to pass along the road, within a few yards of the young man’s hiding-place; but, owing doubtless to the depth of the gloom at that particular spot, neither the travellers nor their steeds were visible. Brown was now left alone in the woods with only his mind to keep him company. Brown’s thoughts were doubting every little move he made, trying to find a piece of evidence to prove his Christian fate. He was also very tired and delusional, so he fell into a dream-like state, where he was still awake but not responsive. There was no visible evidence of the horse riders passing him. Even though it was dark outside, there were mentions of the bright stars in the sky which would allow Brown to see at least the shape of the horses and the riders. Satan successfully left Brown alone in the forest to question his faith and led Brown to dream of events that made him question even more. The final piece of evidence that Brown is manipulated by Satan is when Brown has no physical evidence to prove he had objects he dreamed of holding. But something fluttered lightly down through the air and caught on the branch of a tree. The young man seized it, and beheld a pink ribbon. Before the black mass, it is described that Brown grabbed a pink ribbon from the sky, and then attended the Black mass, where he witnessed a fire as well. However, in the morning while Brown is walking back into town, there is no mention of him holding the ribbon of Faith’s, or of the fire from the night before.
If Brown had attended the mass and held the ribbon, he would’ve still had it the next morning to show to Faith when he returned home to question her. Another piece of physical evidence that was missing was from the staff was holding. There is no evidence of Brown having the staff after the black mass, but also no evidence of him ever leaving it anywhere. The lack of evidence with the objects Brown was holding from the night before shows once again, that he was illusional, and not actually experiencing what he thought he was. Blindly following Satan into the forest and causing his lies to make Brown paranoid caused disbelief in Brown for the rest of his life. Brown had no physical or visual evidence to verify if he was actually experiencing the black mass or any of the events from the woods, but the early connection he made with Satan was enough for Brown to fall into the trap of Satans lies and question his faith, affecting him for the rest of his life. Works Cited Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Young Goodman Brown (Hawthorne 2). (Hawthorne 5). (Hawthorne 6).
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