Young Goodman Brown , By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Young Goodman Brown , By Nathaniel Hawthorne


Young Goodman Brown is a short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1835. This story addresses beliefs of people of Puritan New England that existence of humanity is in the state of depravity. They believe that people who are born in a state if grace are exempted from this blessing. During his writing, Hawthorne frequently make attempts to expose the hypocrisy prevailed in the culture of Puritan. His literature is a prime source of evidence that indicates the over bearing themes. Young Goodman Brown is a journey by the writer into the self-scrutiny resulting in the loss of faith.


In Young Goodman Brown, Hawthorne shed light upon the three dark events from Puritan's history. Most important is the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the intolerance of the Quakers of Puritan and the famous war of King Philip. The author discusses each event individually in the form of short stories. The trail of Salem is one of the most nightmarish episodes in the Pertain history. The villagers of Salem slaughter twenty five innocent people who were accused of being witches. It is said that this slaughter involves personal accusations based on jealousy, revenge and other reasons that are not directly related to the witch craft. During the second half of the seventeenth century, movement of Puritan Quakers came into existence. Both puritans and Quakers settle down in America hoping to get religious freedom so that they can start theory own colonies. In a very quick span of time, Puritans disallowed Quakers to live in their vicinity and stop supporting Quaker. Quaker's rebel against Puritans and their rebalance lead them to the hanging and imprisonment of Puritans. Finally the war of King Philips is the final event in Hawthorne's story. The war continues from 1675 to 1676 and was between the Indians and colonials. Indians of that era attacked on the frontiers of the colonial people in the western Massachusetts. After colonial victory the power was balanced with in the colonies and completely wards puritans. (Keil, pp.33)

Historical events are not the central focus of this book although, they do inform some actions. Names and features of some characters are similar to the historical context of people.  By including these references, Hawthorne reminds the reader of the dubious history of Salem Village and the legacy of the Puritans and emphasizes the historical roots of Goodman Brown's fascination with the devil and the dark side. (Johnson, 66)

The Dark Romantics

Writers of the nineteen century were mainly influenced by the European style of romance in which they can bring nationalistic twist. William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor and Blake are few most popular European romantics of the nineteenth century. In the beginning of the eighteenth century the characteristics movement started that included the power of the individual inclusive of love, fear and horror. Young Goodman Brown comes under the genre of the American Romanticism or the dark romance. It comprises of stories and vivid description of gloomy events along with emotional and psychological ...
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