Nathaniel dream, then the story demonstrates that even

            Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the
most well known early American authors. His writings belong to the
Transcendentalist and American Gothic genres. Hawthorne wrote both full-length
novels, such as The Scarlet Letter,
and short stories, such as Young Goodman
Brown. While Hawthorne’s writing style morphed slightly throughout his
years as a writer, the central themes in his works remained constant. While The Scarlet Letter and Young Goodman Brown are two separate
stories with different plots, they share many similar components and are both
indicative of Hawthorne’s typical writing style.

            Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown follows the nighttime journey of a young man in
Puritan New England in the seventeenth century. After leaving his wife Faith at
home, the story’s protagonist travels into the woods to meet the Devil.

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Although his faith in the community and church leaders is systematically eroded,
he is able to hold onto his faith because of his wife Faith’s innocence and
purity. Through a serious of horrible events, “Goodman Brown” even loses his faith
in Faith. He loses all faith and trust in himself and those around him as he
spirals downward into bitterness and anger. In this story, Hawthorne expresses
his belief in the innate sinfulness of mankind. If the events in the story were
just a dream, then the story demonstrates that even a moral, upstanding person
has the capacity for evil and distrust. If the events actually happened in the
story, then the story shows that everyone, even those that seem outwardly
righteous, is internally evil and sinful.

            Apart from a few key differences,
the short story Young Goodman Brown has
much in common with the novel The Scarlet
Letter. The same theme of inward sinfulness runs through both stories. In Young Goodman Brown, the main character
discovers the innate sinfulness of man and falls into despondency, ending the
story as a miserable old man. In contrast, Rev. Dimmesdale, one of the main
characters in The Scarlet Letter,
suffers inwardly for years because of his hidden sin despite maintaining a pure
exterior. At the end of the story, Dimmesdale confesses his sin and finds
redemption. While both stories focus on the same theme, their plots end very
differently. In addition, Hawthorne combines realistic and supernatural
elements to give the story a magical feel and adds small details to draw a
picture in the reader’s mind in both stories. Another main factor that these
two stories share is Hawthorne’s use of symbolism. In both stories, the forest
is seen as evil and teeming with witchcraft and sin. Other symbols are also
included throughout the stories, such as the pink ribbons and walking staff in Young Goodman Brown and the scarlet
letter in The Scarlet Letter. Young Goodman Brown is characteristic of
Hawthorne’s work in that it displays Hawthorne’s typical use of supernatural
and realistic elements and his frequent use of symbolism. Young Goodman Brown is also set in New England in America’s early
years, and the story displays Hawthorne’s dislike and frequent critiquing of
Puritan culture and society.

            Young
Goodman Brown is an interesting short story filled with complex themes,
Hawthorne’s unique writing style, and detailed symbolism. The story contains
many of the literary elements that frequent Hawthorne’s writing while still
retaining its own distinctive plot. Young
Goodman Brown is an interesting, detailed little story that requires deep
thought about the complicated themes and implications.

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