The story Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a fascinating piece that focuses on guilty conscience and different issues faced by people in the community. The story involves Brown, who leaves his wife, Faith, to meet a man in the dark forest he identifies as the devil. Authors have different ways of ensuring that the audience apprehends the message of their narrative. For instance, character development is one technique used to help readers understand how a particular individual evolves in the story. The use of themes is also an essential aspect that authors use to convey their message. The theme of faith is one of the major themes in the story Young Goodman Brown and is used by Hawthorne to ensure that readers can comprehend the story’s moral lesson.
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The Theme of Faith in the Story Young Goodman Brown
Young Goodman Brown is a suspenseful and symbolic story that references people’s need to have faith despite facing challenges in the world. Many people in modern society encounter different problems such as diseases and shortage of finances. Therefore, the tale has depicted the need for individuals to have faith to overcome or face difficulties. Moreover, Hawthorne’s emphasis on faith encourages the audience to have the strength and focus on their goals. Faith is portrayed in the narrative where Brown enters the dark forest knowing the dangers he might encounter. Moreover, Hawthorne uses the plot of darkness to show the place is evil since many religions associate black with wickedness. The theme of faith has also been used to educate people about believing in their creator. In many cases, people face problems that force them to doubt the existence of God. For instance, Brown’s experience in the forest makes him change his thoughts about the prevailing power of righteousness and embrace the devil’s claim that evil is the nature of humankind (Hawthorne 4). Therefore, Hawthorne has used that scene to show how people doubt their faith after experiencing trials in their lives.
Loss of faith is an issue that many people in the community experience. In this case, questioning of faith has been depicted in the story to show how people make horrible decisions. For instance, the Salem witch trials impact people’s faith, causing them to become paranoid. Brown is also impacted by the trials he encounters in the forest as he loses his faith in the community and starts seeing his wife differently. Moreover, he questions whether God and heaven are real (Earnest 6). Although he tries to maintain his faith and avoid falling into wickedness, he wavers between the corrupt soul’s desperate cynicism and the believer’s hopefulness. Thus, the theme of faith has also been used to show how people try to overcome challenges that may affect their faith. However, they give up and act against their beliefs and values.
The theme of faith has also been used to show how the behaviors of other individuals influence people. For instance, peer pressure is common among the youth where many have been influenced to engage in immoral behaviors. Consequently, Hawthorne used the theme to educate people on emphasizing their faith and being strong to avoid being lured to wickedness by other people. Brown asked, “what if a wretched old woman do choose to go to the devil when I thought she was going to Heaven! (Hawthorne 2). In this case, the scene shows that people can influence others to quit their faith and engage in evil acts. Brown is also tempted to abandon his faith after realizing that Salem’s spiritual leaders have abandoned theirs (Hill-Stanford 3). In another scene, Brown meets a man with a walking stake that is curved to appear as a serpent. The serpent was used as a symbol of evil, bearing in mind that Brown is a Christian. The man offers him the stake, but he rejects it (Hawthorne 2). Additionally, Brown insists that he showed up for a meeting and wanted to return to the village. However, the man confuses Brown stating that he knew his father and grandfather. Therefore, Brown agreed to walk with the man, who later gives him the stake before disappearing. Therefore, Hawthorne has used the tale to show how others can convince people with weak faith to change their beliefs.
The use of themes is an essential technique that has helped authors make their stories fascinating and easy for them to be understood. Hawthorne uses the concept of faith throughout the story to educate the audience about the need to have strong faith despite facing life challenges. Various scenes in the story show that many people question their faith when in desperate moments, impacting their behaviors. For instance, Brown has a strong faith at the beginning of the narrative but questioned his beliefs after interacting with people in the dark forest. The theme of faith is also used to help readers have confidence and trust in God even when facing temptations. In essence, Hawthorne uses the concept of faith to show the need for people to have hope in life.
Earnest, Kacy. “Nathaniel Hawthorne-Liminality as Enlightenment: “Am I Here, or There?”.” (2015). Web.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown.” Mosses from an Old Manse (10) 1846, pp. 74-90.
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Hill-Stanford, Holly. “Hawthorne in Eden.” (2015). Web.