Young Goodman Brown and Other Hawthorne Short Stories

how does Faith's appearance in the forest affect the final outcome of the story?

Discussion about the story Young Goodman Brown and how was the story going to turn out if he hadnt had seen his wife in the forest .

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In the forest, a dark figure prepares to welcome them into the fold, pointing to the crowd behind them - the crowd Young Goodman Brown had reverenced from youth. The figure revealed them all as sinners, noting that “evil is the nature of mankind. Evil must be your only happiness”. The cloaked woman is revealed to be Faith. Before the figure could lay the mark of baptism on Goodman Brown, he called to Faith to “look up to Heaven, and resist the wicked one.” Immediately, he finds himself alone in the forest.

The next morning, Goodman Brown arrives back in town, bewildered about the events from the previous night. He runs into many people he saw in the forest – the Deacon, Goody Cloyse - all acting as if nothing had happened. He sees Faith, but passes without acknowledging her. Since the “night of that fearful dream” Goodman Brown became a dark and gloomy man, who saw nothing but blasphemy all around him.

Some people believe that Brown’s experience was merely a dream, and that all men fear that all men are, at the most basic level, evil. The story may be purposefully ambiguous, balanced perfectly between the good and the evil, as the story’s beginning an end are in direct opposition. (Fogle) Finally, the story has also been considered an examination of nineteenth-century gender roles and the concern that wives would encroach on their husband’s presence in the public sphere. Violation of this separation is present in the story, as Faith leaves her husband with a kiss on the doorstep, but then reemerges at the gathering. (Keil)