Biblical Allusions in “Young Goodman Brown”
“Where reason may not wade, their faith may swim,” Thomas Watson, a Puritan priest, asserts. Puritanism was a faith developed by Englishman in the 1600s. They were a group of staunch believers in the Holy Bible. Although Puritanism resembled Christianity, it made a sharper distinction between sinners and non-sinners.
The religion stressed that each man had free will to choose, and the sanctity of his/her soul was at risk; in other words, every individual had the mandate to determine his/her destiny by making choices. The transgressions of sinners subjected their soul to eternal damnation. The Puritan faith of a man is put into question in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown.” A man, Brown, holds dear few things in the 1800s. This paper shall analyze the theme of puritanism in “Young Goodman Brown” short story.
He has his Puritan faith, which he earnestly cherishes, and guards, the love of his wife, ‘Faith,’ whom he adores, and his ancestral upbringing, the deep-seated principles enshrined in Puritanism. These three elemental things help Goodman to navigate between good and evil; they form the platform from which Goodman decides his fate. As Brown faces the devil’s temptation, people easily persuade him to abandon what once grounded him, Puritanism.
The Puritan values of the 1600s as well as the people’s openness to mystical ideas defined good and evil and influenced some Puritans to question the truth and abandon their faith just like Eve of the bible who challenged God’s truth before leaving it under the wiles of the snake, the devil.
What Does Faith Represent in “Young Goodman Brown”? The Puritans followed the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. One of the most famous stories of man’s ability to be swayed into temptation is the story of Adam and Eve. In ‘Puritan Paradise Lost’ book review, Keith Stavely shows how Adam, Eve, and Satan represent the conventional idea of conflict in the Puritan faith (Stavely 495.) The biblical version of this story bears a striking resemblance to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story.
According to the book of Genesis, God created Adam, and from his rib, Eve was created. After creating these pioneer human beings, God set upon them one demand; that they were not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Nevertheless, having been convinced to eat the forbidden fruit by the snake, Eve persuaded Adam to test God’s will and committed sin by eating the very forbidden fruit. Consequently, Adam and Eve lost their purity, and in its place, shame and guilt took over (New International Version, Gen. 3. 1-9).
Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More For the first time, Adam and Eve realized they were naked and hid from the face of God. Young Goodman Brown experiences this same guilt and persuasive tactics in Hawthorne’s story.
In the initial stages of the story, Brown’s relationship with his wife, faith, is much like that of Adam and Eve, a perfect couple; however, Brown is about to embark on an evil journey, which he knows his wife would not approve. “…and after this one night I will follow her into heaven.
With this excellent resolve for the future, Goodman Brown felt justified in making more haste on his present evil purpose” (Hawthorne 16). Temptation in “Young Goodman Brown” is represented in the moment when Brown travels into the forest defiantly just as Eve ate from the tree of life. Just like Eve, Brown is in search of knowledge, which Satan uses to lure people away.
Once tainted by her sins, Eve felt the need to cover herself from the shame that ensued. The same way, shame affects Young Goodman Brown; as he enters deep into his journey, Brown tells the elder that his ancestors would never travel on such an unthinkable errand.
In response, the elder replies, “I have been as well acquainted with your family as with ever a one among the Puritans; and that’s no trifle to say” (Hawthorne 18). The elder goes on to describe the evil doings of Brown’s father and grandfather. The shame that Brown feels is enough to convince him to continue on the journey even though he is sure his actions violate his Puritan faith.
In the biblical context of Adam and Eve, the end to their innocence and abandonment of trust underscored their punishment. Initially, Adam and Eve were to enjoy life in the Garden of Eden without toiling; however, after sinning, the punishment was upon them whereby, Adam was to work for food while Eve was to experience labor pain in giving birth.
In the case of Young Goodman Brown, punishment is in the death of his soul; he too has to live a life filled with doubt and uncertainty. “Often, waking suddenly at midnight, he shrank from the bosom of Faith; and at morning or eventide, when the family knelt down at prayer; he scowled and muttered to himself, and gazed sternly at his wife, and turned away” (Hawthorne 23.)
We will write a custom Research Paper on Young Goodman Brown. Puritanism and Hawthorne [Analysis] specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More Biblical Allusions in “Young Goodman Brown” What once Brown held most important, his Puritan faith and his wife, no longer matters because the sins from his journey into the forest annihilate his soul that Puritans had warned him. Nevertheless, what evil force drives him to ruin the pure life he once had?
The Puritans gave equal power to Satan as they did to God. The beliefs were that Satan worked as a servant of God to test the righteousness of God’s followers.
Many religions believed that the devil existed. However, what differentiated Puritans is that they believed that God was the devil’s motivating factor. That is, the devil played a pivotal role in harassing and test people’s faith in God in the process of testing and restoring righteousness in God’s followers.
Therefore, Puritans believed that God gave Satan his powers to promote this religious way of life and to make achieving salvation difficult. Puritans’ loyalty to their faith was based on the fear that God would call upon Satan to punish them (Kizer, Para. 5).
In contemporary culture, people do not carry the same amount of fear of the devil; however, in ‘Young Goodman Brown’ as one of the examples of puritanism literature, the fear of Satan’s appearance ran throughout the short story. Brown wondered, “what if the devil himself should be at my very elbow” (Hawthorne 19).
Brown feared that the devil would appear; however, the devil did not show up in the story as a literal person that could be seen. Instead, the devil was disguised as priests, elderly, women, and allusions, and Brown ended up living amongst the very thing he feared, the devil.
The most compelling allusion comes towards the end of the story; the devil cast an allusion upon Brown by leading him to believe that his beloved wife Faith had fallen into the hands of the devil. Brown lamented, “My faith is gone! Cried he, after one stupefies moment…There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name” (Hawthorne 44).
To Brown, this statement was two-fold; one, he lost his wife Faith and two, he lost his faith in Puritanism. Who else but the devil could conjure up such a wicked event? Brown’s religious ideology was that of Puritan values. In other religions such as protestant and Catholic, the devil was someone that a sinner would meet in his/her afterlife; however, according to the Puritan culture, God used Satan top help “promote righteous piety and individual spiritual welfare” (Kizer, Para. 9).
Not sure if you can write a paper on Young Goodman Brown. Puritanism and Hawthorne [Analysis] by yourself? We can help you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More In other words, a test of one’s faith, and in this test, Brown failed. Once convinced that faith was gone, Brown followed her in the forest with a vengeance. Unfortunately, instead of questioning his actions, Brown entertained the notion that he was a sinner; he lost his faith.
Abandonment of one’s faith among Puritan culture was considered a weakness among men. A man was to remain true to his faith and his wife. Marriage was entered into as a lifetime bond of love, sacrifice, and forgiveness.
Hawthorne’s story draws from these beliefs, both figuratively and literally. Brown’s wife’s name is Faith – a play on words because she represents Brown’s Faith in God. Brown being of Puritan ideology, is to remain faithful to God and his wife. Once his wife Faith appears to have left his life permanently, Brown’s figurative faith leaves as well (Mellow 60).
By the end of the story, it is unclear whether faith’s disappearance and the story in its entirety was a dream. The legitimacy of the story bears little relevance because the result is the same. The weakness in Brown’s faith allowed him to believe that the story could have been true. The question becomes, how could Brown show credence in such a story?
As Hawthorne’s story takes the audience through the forest, the readers may call authenticity into question. The serpent staff and tales of witches and witchcraft lack validity in today’s culture. In the Puritan culture, witchcraft was a sin against God. It attempted to alter the fate that God had bestowed upon his followers.
If God could be conjured up in unconceivable manners, then all things involving witchcraft could be real. Witchcraft had been in Europe since the fifteenth century (Modugno, Para. 5). The idea of witchcraft is not synonymous with the Puritans; it appears throughout the Holy Bible. “The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination.
But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so” (Deut. 18:14). The terms sorcery and divination are replacements for acts of witchcraft. The verse is clear that God does not permit such practices. Hawthorne brings witchcraft into his story as the catalyst that lured Brown into evil. Several of the characters share the names of individuals charged with witchcraft.
Hawthorne’s intention is to use the relationship between Brown and witchcraft to symbolize the relationship between man and his Puritan faith. As Brown was drawn closer to witchcraft and those who believed in it, he slipped further away from the life of meaning (Modugno, Para. 9).
This implies that the far an individual goes from God, the deeper s/he sinks into sin. The far Brown stayed around witches, the deeper he fell into sin characterized by loss of meaningful life. In essence, God gives people purposes in life, and without Him, life is meaningless, as evidenced by Brown. Thus, it can be stated that stories by Hawthorne and puritanism are inextricably linked.
Conclusion The Puritan faith was primarily based on the conflict between good and evil. A devout Puritan resisted temptation, no matter how great, letting his/her faith guide him/her through life. Nathaniel Hawthorne used the escapades of Young Goodman Brown as an example of what good and evil conflict. Evil came in the form of witches, serpent’s tails, and allusions; however, in the end, evil was in the mind of Young Goodman Brown. Thus, puritanism in “Young Goodman Brown” is clearly evident.
Hawthorne’s short story objective was to show the reader that the “devil made me do it” is an insufficient answer, regardless of whether that devil was well disguised or not. The Puritan Faith left Brown with a feeling of self-doubt, which marked the end to his life with “Faith”.
Works Cited Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Young Goodman Brown. Maryland: Wildside Press, 2005. Print.
Kizer, Kay. The Puritans. Web.
Mellow, James R. Hawthorne in His Times. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1980.
Modugno, Joseph. “The Salem Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692 and “Young Goodman Brown.”
Hawthorne in Salem, Web.
New International Version. The Holy Bible. New York: Harper, 1983.
Stavely, Keith. “Puritan Legacies: Paradise Lost and the New England Tradition, 1630–1890.” Journal of American Studies 22.3 (1988): 490-496.
The Basic Structure of Writing a Quality Essay
Nursing Assignment Help An essay refers to the systematic presentation of ideas that describe the process of performing a task or explaining the process by which a system works. An essay may be explanatory in which case it explains the steps in performing a task; it can also be expository or narrative.
The main aim of writing an essay is simply to explain, outline or describe an event, object or system. An essay may be brief or comprehensive, depending on the writer’s interest. It can also be complicated or simple, depending on the nature of the subject under investigation. However, this greatly depends on the instructions provided, and the writer’s knowledge of the subject.
Whether brief or short, an essay must be fully understandable, in order to convey the intended message conveniently. Molly suggests that to achieve this, the writer must use the appropriate style in writing, in addition to using the appropriate terminology and phrasing that the reader will easily understand without much strain 1.
Each type of essay has its style of writing, though there is a general guideline to writing all essays. A typical essay should contain an introduction, body and conclusion. These are the three main parts of an essay. The content and length of each part will depend on the depth and the concentration of the subject.
The introduction should clearly outline the background of the topic, and give a brief literature review to the subject under investigation.
It is important to note that not all essays will require an introduction, but the necessity will depend on the instructor’s priority. The introduction is an overview of the topic, without specializing on a given area. The introduction is followed by the ‘body’ of the essay.
This is the part that contains the actual material of the writing, as Rositter suggests 2. For example, in a narrative essay, the body contains the narration of the issue and any other material relevant to the topic. The body of an explanatory essay will contain a deep explanation of the subject matter, giving all the necessary details of the explanation.
Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More This part requires the writer to deeply focus on the issue which they are writing about. The writer must first understand the topic of interest before starting to give details about it. The body may require deeper research from outside sources related to the subject. The details are very essential, as they help the reader to understand the content.
In order to discuss the topic with the desired level of comprehensiveness, each paragraph in the body of an essay should introduce a new idea. Greetham explains that subsequent lines in the same paragraph should expand the main idea, giving the required details 3.
The body should have several paragraphs in order to maximize the number of details provided. Sometimes, several ideas may be contained in the same paragraph, due to specifications on the essay’s length.
The final part of the essay is the conclusion. It may consist of one or a few paragraphs that collectively sum up the whole topic of discussion.
It concludes the essay with a statement of proposition or opposition of the topic and should also include the reasons for the conclusion made. The conclusion, according to Greetham, gives a reflection of the entire topic in a few lines, stating the relevance of the whole discussion at a glance4.
Although some essays are too complicated, an essay should be generally easy to understand, and this greatly relies on the clarity of the points that the writer includes. In other words, it should be self-explanatory in order to achieve its intended purpose and to benefit the reader, without further assistance from the writer. This is why the guideline is important, as it gives the basic structure of writing a quality essay.
Molly, M, Schaum’s quick guide to writing great essays, McGraw Hills, Washington DC, 1999, p. 37
Rositter, J, The college guide to essay writing, DW Publishing Co, Washington, 2006, p. 52
Greetham, B, How to write better essays, Macmillan Publishers, London, 2001, p. 19
Greetham, p. 27.
Bibliography Greetham, B, How to write better essays, Macmillan Publishers, London, 2001.
We will write a custom Essay on The Basic Structure of Writing a Quality Essay specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More Molly, M, Schaum’s quick guide to writing great essays, McGraw Hills, Washington DC, 1999.
Rositter, J, The college guide to essay writing, DW Publishing Co, Washington, 2006.