Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown The Puritans And Love

1137 words - 5 pages

Young Goodman Brown:  The Puritans and Love               Hawthorne’s  “Young Goodman Brown”, exposes the puritan view of love and relationships. In theory, these two visions are diametrically opposed. One exalts love as a physical manifestation between two individuals (although it also claims to represent higher ideals), the other sees it as a spiritual need, one best manifested by attachment to God. In fact, the puritans did not see love as a good thing, but rather as an evil, a grim necessity, that is, they saw physical love (between a man and a woman, or sexuality and all it carries with it) as such. The emotional turmoil affecting Goodman Brown clearly expresses this.
   The problem we find in this story, and in puritanism, is that it presents contrasting views of love. Attachment to earthly possessions, to other people in fact, is discouraged, because everything physical leads to temptation and damnation, and ultimately hell, while the road to salvation of the individual wanders through a spiritual discipline, rigour, austerity. A man should not love his wife more than he loves God; in fact, it is recommended that he not derive pleasure from his wife, but rather seek suffering, in order to redeem himself from his earthly condition, his impure state.
   This conception of love can be traced back to the first chapters of the Bible, Genesis. Adam and Eve, in the garden of Eden, eat the forbidden fruit and are forever outcast from paradise, forced to suffer. The puritans argued that, if God wishes us to suffer, who are we to go against his wishes. We are sinners, because of the Original Sin, and it was Eve who gave the fruit to Adam, and therefore condemned all mankind (another strange notion is that of mankind - I find it odd we do not speak of humankind or womankind - but that is another essay topic) to forever be enslaved by sin.
   This puritan notion eclipses the New Testament's message of redemption that we have been forgiven for Adam's fault, through Jesus' sacrifice. Instead, it clings to that original notion of impurity, of a stain on all men and women. It also clings to the fact that since women are the root of all evil, they should be especially feared. A man should not love his wife, or else face the consequences of the wrath of God.
   If women are evil, and sex is evil, then men cannot in good conscience be with women, yet they must, for how else will the race continue? Puritanism condemns men to a constant state of uncertainty on their actions.
   Goodman Brown is no exception, in fact, he seems to be the rule. He is recently married to a woman ironically named Faith, whom he loves dearly. He seems happily married, and yet, there is something odd with him at the start of the story. We sense he is a troubled man, and the source of his worries seem to be his wife.
...

Find Another Essay On Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown - The Puritans and Love

The Themes in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

3322 words - 13 pages , love and humor are only the eyes, through which such an intellect views this world. …   The humor in “Young Goodman Brown” is not so apparent to this reader as is the love; I refer to the deep love which Goodman has for his wife, Faith. When he says goodbye and starts down the street, headed for the forest, the protagonist really feels a deep consideration for Faith’s feelings:   "Poor little Faith!" thought he, for his heart

The Setting of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1678 words - 7 pages The Setting of “Young Goodman Brown”      This essay will examine the main physical settings within Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown.” These are four in number and begin and end in the village of Salem. The tale opens at Goodman and Faith Brown’s house, in the doorway where the protagonist is telling his wife goodbye, and where she is trying to dissuade him from his planned adventure on this particular night

The Structure of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2046 words - 8 pages . Pray, tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year!"   "My love and my Faith," replied young Goodman Brown, "of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee. My journey, as thou callest it, forth and back again, must needs be done 'twixt now and sunrise. What, my sweet, pretty wife, dost thou doubt me already, and we but three months married!"   "Then God bless you!" said Faith, with

The Theme of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2375 words - 10 pages The Theme of Young Goodman Brown             This essay intends to develop an interpretation of the theme of “Young Goodman Brown”.   To come by a clear notion of the theme of  “Young Goodman Brown” is no easy task, thanks to the confusing style of the author. As A.N. Kaul says in the “Introduction” to Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays:   Because Hawthorne was much given to evasions, mystifications, and

The Ambiguity in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1655 words - 7 pages The Ambiguity in “Young Goodman Brown”        The literary critics agree that there is considerable ambiguity in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown.” This essay intends to illustrate the previous statement and to analyze the cause of this ambiguity.   Henry James in Hawthorne, when discussing “Young Goodman Brown” comments on how imaginative it is, then mentions how allegorical Hawthorne is, and how allegory should be

The Symbolism of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2868 words - 11 pages The Symbolism of “Young Goodman Brown”            Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown,” shows the reader the author’s power as a symbolist.   Frederick C. Crews in “The Logic of Compulsion in ‘Roger Malvin’s Burial’” explores the symbology that prevails in Hawthorne’s best short stories:   . . . I chose this one tale to analyze because it illustrates the indispensability, and I should even say the

The Symbolism in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2759 words - 11 pages  “Young Goodman Brown” – The Symbolism             Peter Conn in “Finding a Voice in an New Nation” states his evaluation of Hawthorne as a symbolist:   He was a secularized Puritan symbolist, who recovered the dramas enacted in cases of conscience by tracing the lines that bound men and women to their motives. Concerned with individuals as specimens or types, he endowed his characters with solemnly stylized features and then

The Allegory in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2099 words - 8 pages The Allegory in “Young Goodman Brown”       It is the purpose of this essay to show that Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is indeed an allegory. M. H. Abrams defines an allegory as a “narrative, whether in prose or verse, in which the agents and actions, and sometimes the setting as well, are contrived by the author to make coherent sense on the ‘literal,’ or primary, level of signification, and at the same time to signify a

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1392 words - 6 pages romanticism. His themes often center on the inherent evil and sin of humanity, and his works often have moral messages and deep psychological complexity. His published works include novels, short stories, and a biography of his friend Franklin Pierce. Discussion: The story starts at sunset in a village named Salem, as young Goodman Brown leaves his wife, Faith, for a duty in the forest. Faith begs her husband to stay with her, but he insists that

Puritan Depravity and Distrust in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2296 words - 9 pages .  In particular, Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" allows the writer to examine and perhaps provide commentary on not only the Salem of his own time but also the Salem of his ancestors.  Growing up, Hawthorne could not escape the influence of Puritan society, not only from residing with his father's devout Puritan family as a child but also due to Hawthorne's study of his own family history.  The first of his ancestors, William Hathorne, is

Ambiguity and Uncertainty in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1536 words - 6 pages Ambiguity and Uncertainty in Young Goodman Brown     In "Young Goodman Brown," Nathaniel Hawthorne, through the use of deceptive imagery, creates a sense of uncertainty that illuminates the theme of man's inability to operate within a framework of moral absolutism.  Within every man there is an innate difference between good and evil and Hawthorne's deliberate use of ambiguity mirrors this complexity of human nature. Hawthorne's Young

Similar Essays

Morality And Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1162 words - 5 pages the witch trials and inflexible Puritan ideology of the 17th century. Many current publications and lectures condemned the cruel intolerance of Puritans, and Hawthorne anticipated reader interest as an added incentive for using his Puritan heritage  as a background for his work. "Hawthorne's fullest display of witch lore is in one of the first tales he wrote, 'Young Goodman Brown"' (Turner 67). When Brown marveled that Goody Cloyse, who had

Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown And Transcendentalism

2389 words - 10 pages that human existence transcended the sensory realm, and rejected formalism in favor of individual responsibility. Hawthorne's fiancee Sophia Peabody drew him into "the newness," and in 1841 Hawthorne invested $1500 in the Brook Farm Utopian Community, leaving disillusioned within a year. His works show some Transcendentalist influence, including a belief in individual choice and consequence, and an emphasis on symbolism. “Young Goodman Brown” would

Transcendentalism And Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

3611 words - 14 pages , [who] is in one terrible night confronted with the vision of human evil . . . ” (15).   "Young Goodman Brown" begins when Brown is starting to set out into the woods for a secret meeting. Faith, Brown's wife, asks him not to go because she would be lonely and troubled by dreams. Goodman Brown says to his wife that "this one night I must tarry away from thee." When he says his "love" and his "Faith", he is talking to his wife, but he is

Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown And History

1778 words - 7 pages “Young Goodman Brown” and History                 Q. D. Leavis states that “perhaps the persecuting aspect of their way of life was peculiarly present to Hawthorne because of the witch-hanging judge and the Quaker-whipping Major among his ancestors” (30). This is a reference to one instance of historical allusion in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown.” This essay will explore a variety of historical incidences referred to in this