• Home
  • Blog
  • UMGC Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne Discussion

UMGC Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne Discussion


I’m working on a humanities discussion question and need support to help me learn.

Imagery is so important in poetry. Poems are like stories but are not always as long or have as many words. The more ways they can show you what they are trying to say, the better. A poet will use a METAPHOR in order to try and paint a photo in your mind. In the poem, “far memory,” Lucille Clifton states “their sweet music the voice of the universe at peace.” That paints vivid picture of a peaceful melody, calming and sweet. Something that would put you at ease. She painted a whole photo in your brain with a few simple words. They were carefully put together, in a specific way for you to understand how the sisters were able to sing together. Anne Sexton uses PARADOX in her poem “you, Doctor Martin.” She states “ “prince of all the foxes,” this is a paradox because, a person cannot be a price of all the foxes. However, this to me is talking about someone who is able to have it all. She makes shoes for a living and sews fur into the inside of the shoe. She’s saying that the person who is in charge of her is the prince of all the foxes because he owns all the fox fur that she has to sew into these shoes. Even if her hands hurt and she feels lost. This paints such a powerful picture in your mind. In “A Bride in the Thirties” by W. H. Auden, he states “When hatred would proffer her immediate pleasure,” this specifically states that anger is what fueled her and gave her joy. He was didn’t really have to use any special way to paint this photo because each word gave you what you need to know. Each of these authors uses something different to their advantage. Each poem has its own personality, but each get its point across. Just because you use less words, or use them in a different way, does not mean you lose meaning or impact. All three of these were a good read and made me feel something. As well as picture what they were talking about. This is one!

“Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

The short story Young Goodman Brown, set during the Salem Witch Trials, sheds light on the disillusionment of Young Goodman Brown, as he parts from his young wife and on a journey through the forest. The story is told from the narrative perspective of a third person omniscient point-of-view; a Historical allegory that ultimately tells the story of a man and his meeting with the devil. During the walk through the forest and amongst fellow travelers/sinners, Goodman states:

“My father never went into the woods on such an errand, nor his father before him. We have been a race of honest men and good Christians, since the days of the martyrs. And shall I be the first of the name of Brown, that ever took this path and kept–” (Hawthorne).

In a strange twist situational irony, it was the devil who helped the Brown family commit their sins of burning an Indian (indigenous) village and lashing a woman in Salem. He discovered that the good Christian men of his family have walked the same path with the devil, and Goodman begins to take interest. I believe the author is suggesting a form of religious conformity.

Secondly, I believe the evil forest is interchangeably a metaphor for Hell. As it was described as “…dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind.” (Hawthorne). Furthermore, he began to gaze at the sky above seeing an arch of the firmament (vault of the heavens), while below in hell. In the same moment, Hawthorne attributed a pathetic fallacy, by stating: “sometimes the wind tolled like a distant church-bell, and sometimes gave a broad roar around the traveler as if all Nature were laughing…” (Hawthorne). However, it was not until Goodman was proselytized that he became comfortable with the forest.

In conclusion, I think the story of Young Goodman Brown is an allegory of suspected corruptions during the Salem Witch trials and the murder of innocent women in the view of villagers. Also, the author is potentially giving a realistic depiction of his opinion of his great-great-grandfather, John Hawthorne. The elder Hawthorne was a judge that oversaw the trials (Britannica). Nathaniel later changed the spelling of his last name to dissociate from the lineage. This is two!

About the Author

Follow me

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}