Young Goodman Brown and Other Hawthorne Short Stories

Support for Calvinistic Faith in “Young Goodman Brown”

“‘My Faith is gone!’” (Hawthorne 394) cries Young Goodman Brown after seeing his wife’s pink ribbon fall from the sky and then realizing that humanity is depraved. Although Faith is the name of Brown’s wife, it is also a metaphor for his interior faith in God. In “Young Goodman Brown,” Puritan attitudes towards faith and evil are carefully considered by Hawthorne and described at various levels of depth in the story. Many critics have difficulty deciding on the overall theme of this story, though, and there is a mixed response towards the motives for Hawthorne’s writing of this piece. When examining Puritan theology and the historical context of the short story, “Young Goodman Brown” is transformed into several moral lessons based on the importance of faith which, in turn, supports Calvinistic beliefs.

The story of Goodman Brown includes many references to biblical stories and Puritanical beliefs. Although Brown believes he is an upstanding person of a respectable family line, he allows his curiosity to betray his faith. Brown arrives late to his meeting with the evil figure and explains that, “‘Faith kept me back a while’”(Hawthorne 388). Brown hesitates because he realizes that his journey with this devilish being is sinful....

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