Transcendentalism And Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

3611 words - 14 pages

Transcendentalism and “Young Goodman Brown”

 
       “Young Goodman Brown” manifests characteristics of the onetime Transcendentalist beliefs of its author in its abundance of symbolism and in its emphasis on individuality and personal responsibility.

 

Let us briefly review the life of the author up to and including his brief acceptance of Transcendentalism. Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts, to a family that had been prominent in the area since colonial times. A rich lore of family and local history provided much of the material for Hawthorne's works. When Nathaniel was four, his father died on a voyage in Surinam, Dutch Guinea, but maternal relatives recognized his literary talent and financed his education at Bowdoin College. Among his classmates were many of the important literary and political figures of the day: writer Horatio Bridge, future Senator Jonathan Ciley, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and future President Franklin Pierce. These prominent friends supplied Hawthorne with government employment in the lean times, allowing him time to bloom as an author.

 

Hawthorne was extremely concerned with conventionality; his first pseudonymously published short stories imitated Sir Walter Scott, as did his 1828 self-published Fanshawe. Hawthorne later formally withdrew most of this early work, discounting it as the work of inexperienced youth. From 1836 to 1844 the Boston-centered Transcendentalist movement, led by Ralph Waldo Emerson, believed 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 later works show some Transcendentalist influence, including a belief in individual choice and consequence, and an emphasis on symbolism. “Young Goodman Brown” would convey these ideals, emphasizing symbolism and  contrasting the generally accepted Puritan morality with Goodman Brown’s individual, personal morality.

 

“Young Goodman Brown” takes place in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem village:  It was “the center of the witchcraft delusion, in the witching times of 1692, and it shows the populace of Salem Village, those chief in authority as well as obscure young citizens like Brown, enticed by fiendish shapes into the frightful solitude of superstitious fear” (Abel 133).

 

In "Young Goodman Brown" Goodman Brown is a Puritan husband who lets his individualistic impulses lead him into a personal encounter with the devil himself. Goodman Brown:  1.  According to Levy, he “is Everyman.  The bargain he has struck with Satan is the universal one . . . . Initially, he is a naive and immature young man who fails to understand the gravity of the step he has taken . . . [which is] succeeded by a presumably adult determination to resist his own evil impulses”...

Find Another Essay On Transcendentalism and Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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

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

Self-rejection and Self-damnation in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1304 words - 5 pages Self-rejection and Self-damnation in Young Goodman Brown   In "Young Goodman Brown," the story's protagonist embarks on a metaphorical errand on which he plans to confront the evil within himself. Unprepared to accept this as part of his human nature, he instead rejects it, ultimately prescribing his own doom. The fantastic spirit of Young Goodman's travel is revealed at the story's outset, when he holds an appointment with a

Central Conflict, Climax and Resolution in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1752 words - 7 pages The Central Conflict, Climax and Resolution in “Young Goodman Brown”     This essay will analyze Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” to determine the central conflict in the tale, its climax and partial resolution, using the essays of literary critics to help in this interpretation. In my opinion, the central conflict in the tale is an internal one - the conflict in Goodman Brown between joining the ranks of the devil and

External and Internal Conflict in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1602 words - 6 pages External and Internal Conflict in “Young Goodman Brown”           Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown” manifests a duality of conflict – both an external conflict and an internal conflict. It is the purpose of this essay to explore both types of conflict as manifested in the story.   In the opening lines of the tale there is a compulsion, representing internal conflict, indicated on the part of both the

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown and Dr. Heidegger's Experiment

849 words - 3 pages Through out the elements of Gothic Romanticism, the greatest involves the supernatural and mysterious events. This leaves the reader wondering whether such scenes actually did in fact occur or if the scene was a delusion created by the character’s subconscious desires and fears. Thus such uncertainty leads to the development of mystery and doubt within the reader. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” and “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment

Symbolism,Characterization, and Faith in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

937 words - 4 pages Symbolism,Characterization, and Faith in  Young Goodman Brown      Faith is believing what you can’t see or touch. Faith is knowing something especially when there is no proof to back it up. “Young Goodman Brown” is a story about a man who leaves his wife, Faith, home alone for a night while he journeys with the devil down the road of temptation. During the course of his journey, the man sees many people who seem out of place, including

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

Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

685 words - 3 pages Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" is full of symbolism throughout the story. Perhaps the most interesting examples of symbolism include the title character, Young Goodman Brown, as well as his wife, Faith, and the woods that Young Goodman Brown enters on his journey. Included are many allusions to Christianity and also to evil and sin. These references are expressed mainly

Analysis of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1529 words - 6 pages Analysis of Young Goodman Brown   "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathanial Hawthorne is a short story that is very interesting, as well as entertaining. This essay will first provide a brief summary of the story, followed by an analysis of the importance of symbolism. The nature of evil will then be discussed as it relates to the control of the mind of a once naive and innocent goodman Brown. The climax of the story will be analyzed and

Formal Analysis of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

859 words - 3 pages A Formal Analysis of Young Goodman Brown        Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" is an interesting short story that creatively tells two stories at once.  One story is of a man leaving his wife one night and venturing into the woods, and the other is of his struggle with his religious faith.  In reading this story, it is beneficial for one to look at it from a formalistic point of view

Similar Essays

Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown And Transcendentalism

2389 words - 10 pages “Young Goodman Brown” and Transcendentalism                A reading of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” indicates that the author adheres to some, but not all of the Transcendentalist beliefs of the nineteenth century, especially in its symbolism and in its emphasis on personal responsibility.   Morse Peckham in “The Development of Hawthorne’s Romanticism”explains some aspects of Hawthorne’s Transcendentalist beliefs

Morality And Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1162 words - 5 pages "Young Goodman Brown" was published in 1835, when Nathaniel Hawthorne was 31 years old. Hawthorne was born and reared in Salem, Massachusetts, a village still permeated by its 17th century Puritanism. When he was four, Hawthorne's father  died, and from that point on he was surrounded mostly by females: two sisters, a maiden aunt, and a retiring mother who was not close to her children. He had little contact with his deceased father's family

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

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

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