Young Goodman Brown

In this short story, we are presented with the idea that below the surface, there is evil lurking in everyone. This idea is first seen when the strange man aproaches Goodman Brown. In the beginning, the man acts kindly toward him and like a friend to gain the trust of Goodman Brown. Once Goodman Brown persists on returning to the village and to Faith, the strange man “flips a switch” and quickly becomes eager for Goodman Brown to hold onto his walking stick. Next, a christian woman named Goodly Cloyse appears and the strange man approaches her while Goodman Brown hides. He intensely watches the two as Goody Cloyse states that the man is the devil and reveals that she is a witch as they continue to walk further into the woods to attend a summoning with the evil spirits. Frightened, Goodman Brown becomes even more persistant to return to his wife Faith in comforting. Suddenly he hears the minister approaching speaking of blasphemis things. Goodman Brown then becomes untrustworthy of all people in his town. He even hears the sound of his wife’s voice and at this moment the strange man leaves him with the stick and Goodman Brown takes it, wishing to follow his wife’s voice to the ceremony. When he reaches, he sees his father aproaching the devil along with his wife. It is then that he looses all faith in mankind. Suddenly he is alone in the woods and when he returns to the village, he shuns all of the community and neglects his wife. Sadly, this revelation changed him and ultimately spends the rest of his life in fear and anxiety.

Young Goodman Brown and The Crucible show many similarities. First, they both seem occur in the same time period. In the Crucible, the whole story is based on witchcraft and putting witches on trial to hang. Likewise, Young Goodman Brown states that Goody Cloyse is a witch and she is referred to as “Goody” just as in The Crucible. Secondly, both stories deal with witchery and evil spirits; especially in the case of evil spirits taking over small villages or communites with ministers as leaders. Also, each story expresses a sense of “judgement”. People in both stories are easy to acuse others of being evil meerly because they spot them doing something out of the ordinary or expressing themselves in improper ways.

While we see comparible items, we also see differences. For starters, in Young Goodman Brown, what Goodman Brown sees the towns people doing and their actions of dealing with the devil are very realistic and he himself sees the evil spirits and believes that the villagers are evil. On the contrary, in The Crucible, the women that claim to have seen witchcraft being done by various people in the community are lying; even to the point of faking being posessed by evil spirits. Also, at a more criticle standpoint, The Crucible is a play witch is seen from all different points of view and deals with many different characters. Meanwhile, Young Goodman Brown only views it from Goodman Brown’s viewpoint and speeks of only the events that are seen through his eyes.

In every peom, book, play or novel it is good habbit to take away a positive or negative lesson learned in reading each material. In such stories like Young Goodman Brown and The Crucible, the lesson I have learned is to not judge but to look at the big picture and realize what is going on around you. In Young Goodman Brown, Goodman Brown shouldn’t be so judgemental of the towns people (especially his wife and his father) and realize that everything was a dream but seemed real only because his eyes were controlled by an evil spirit. Likewise, in the Crucible, the idea of jumping to conclusions is a continuing theme. Obviously, there aren’t 72 witches in one small village. Hale, Parris and the judge need to realize that trusting the word of teenage girls who are obviously being pressured by a girl who was once herself being accused of being a witch, are not reliable sources and remember that people like Rebecca and the old man are well-known good hearted people. We can’t be so quick to judge and remember what we’ve grown up to know as good morals and good virtues.

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One thought on “Young Goodman Brown

  1. Excellent response, Elizabeth. Congrats on the Bloggie, and sorry it has taken me a bit of time to leave you a comment on this post. Firstly, I agree that both works emphasize the power of evil to exist unseen and unsuspected in certain individuals. Although Parris seems like a upright and moral individual, scratch the surface of his holy exterior and you quickly begin to see the darkness of his true nature. I also liked your point that both works show us the danger of jumping to conclusions. If the characters in “The Crucible” would have maintained a calm and disinterested outlook, much of the hysteria/craziness that occurred could have been avoided. Good job!

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