Nathaniel Hawthorne: Young Goodman Brown

(4413 words)
  • David Andrew Loman (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

First published in 1835 and set in 1690s New England, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown” is an allegory about a young Puritan who loses his faith. Departing at sunset from the village of Salem, Massachusetts, Young Goodman Brown enters the surrounding wilderness where he encounters “the figure of a man, in grave and decent attire”, who may well be “the devil himself” (Hawthorne 10:75). The devil terrorizes Brown by revealing – or so it appears – that the people he most reveres are all members of the devil’s congregation. First, the woman who taught Brown his catechism, then a minister and his deacon, and finally, worst of all, Brown’s wife Faith – all, in the hallucinatory forest, seem to …

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Loman, David Andrew. "Young Goodman Brown". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 September 2013
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]