The gloom Young Goodman Brown is feeling from the truth he discovers during the night is completely justified. How could it not be after such a traumatic experience? His entire image of the world around him was shattered. The people he new and looked up to, were not what he spent his life believing them to be. There are many passages by Young Goodman Brown that portray these thoughts, feeling, loss of innocence, and changes to his perception in the short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. What immediately stood out to me was the sweet exchange of words Goodman and Faith had, at the train station before his departure.
Faith had bad dreams and negative thoughts about Goodman’s trip and does not want him to leave. Goodman replies, “My love and my Faith, of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee. ” This line was the best. I have never heard a better way to tell a woman that I can not spend time with her. This line will be used by me at some time in my life. I wonder how much better Goodman’s life would have been if he would have listened to faith. Goodman regarded Faith as his anchor to everything that is right in the world.
Faith, with her pink ribbons, is what could right any of the wrongs that might happen to him on his trip. “After this one night I’ll cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven,” he tells himself in the fashion of a silent prayer, pleading to make it through the night. I see this concept, of using Faith as a prayer, when he meditates on the phrase, “what calm sleep would be his that very night, which was to have been spent so wickedly, but so purely and sweetly now, in the arms of Faith! Amidst these pleasant and praiseworthy meditations. ” It seemed as if everyone from the village had a relationship with the devil.
“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 a pitch pin knot, kindled at my own hearth, to set fire to an Indian village, in King Philip’s war,” said the devil. One of the first moments of truth occurred when Goodman witnessed Goody Cloyse speaking to the devil. Hawthorne portrays Goodman’s shock by having him repeat the phrase, “That old woman taught me my catechism. ” Once you start on the road of behavior that makes you lose your innocence, the easier it becomes to travel down that path.
The devil said, trying to comfort Goodman, “You will think better of this by and by. ” The moment the Devil plucked the maple branch and it withered was a metaphor of how evil corrupts the innocent and a representation of what was in store for Goodman’s life after that night. Goodman was so shocked that the very leaders of his faith, the Deacon, would venture out into the night to meet the man with the snake cane. Then Goodman heard the cry of grief and held the pink ribbon in his hand crying out, “my Faith is gone,” was the end of his trying to withstand the devil.
He gave up stating, “there is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. ” In this moment of despair he calls out to the devil stating, “Come, devil; for to thee is the world given. ” When he felt he lost is anchor (Faith) to everything that was Holy and pure to him he gave up. In Goodman’s mind he had no other choice to follow the Devil and after being apart of that ritual of initiation and the devil’s sermon, there was no coming back for him. Young Goodman Brown will forever be gloomy and withdrawn.
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