Young Goodman Brown and Other Short Stories consists of tales that were all published in newspapers and periodicals before they were later compiled and published in short story collections during Hawthorne's lifetime. These works were written between 1832 and 1850. As indicated by the title, the most famous and powerful of these stories is no doubt "Young Goodman Brown".
This story, written in 1835, takes place in Puritan New England, as is the case with many of Hawthorne's other works. "Young Goodman Brown" depicts the inner struggle experienced by the title character to maintain his religious faith. Simultaneously, he must call into question the "goodness" and piety of his fellow townsfolk, including even his wife.
Other noteworthy stories in this collection include "Roger Malvin's Burial", "The Minister's Black Veil", "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", and "Ethan Brand". Generally, these works are united by the following themes: the hypocrisy of Puritanism; the conflict between outward appearance and inward reality; and the conflict between good and evil within man.
Most of these works also take place in Puritan New England, within which Hawthorne's ancestry was deeply rooted. Thus, he alludes to witchcraft in some stories as well, as Hawthorne was impacted by the Salem Witch Trials and his ancestor's role in them. Stories that include supernatural elements include "Young Goodman Brown", "The Birthmark" and "Ethan Brand".