Young Goodman Brown – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Young Goodman Brown
Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of the short story, Young Goodman Brown, was born in 1804 and raised in Massachusetts by his mother following his father’s death. His great grandfather was a judge in the 1692 trial of Salem witches who sentenced twenty-five witches to death. He felt ashamed that his family had been involved in the trials and expressed his feelings in writing. The majority of his stories examine the social history of the Puritans and New England. Hawthorne interacted with some famous people both in and after college. He attended Bowdoin College with Franklin Pierce (14th President of the U.S.) and Wadsworth Longfellow (poet). Out of college, he met New England authors such as David Thoreau and Ralph Emerson who were both transcendentalists; a feature Hawthorne brought out in his writing. In Young Goodman Brown, he appraises themes such as temptations, erosion of religious faith and Puritans social ills. This is a story about good and evil, and how they are perceived in society.
In the story, Goodman Brown suddenly loses his innocence during an excursion to the woods with a fellow traveller. Goodman grew up in a small village, and he thought that he knew everybody and everything happening around him. His big surprise came when he learnt that the world was not as simple as he thought. Young Goodman Brown discovered more about himself in one night than in his entire life.
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