Faith in Young Goodman Brown Essay

This essay has a total of 668 words and 4 pages.

Faith in "Young Goodman Brown"

In the allegorical short story entitled "Young Goodman Brown", author Nathaniel Hawthorne
uses the irony of words and their connotations to express his ideas. The most evident
example of this word inference is the used of "Faith" as the name of Young Goodman Brown's
wife. Religiously, faith can be defined as "the belief and trust in God and in the
doctrines expressed in the scriptures or other sacred works" (Merriam-Webster). Hawthorne
uses the relationship between Brown and his wife to parallel that with his own personal

Although relatively new, as affirmed by Brown when he asks Faith, "Dost thou doubt me
already, and we but three months married?" (Hawthorne) Brown's relationship with both his
wife and faith can be seen as strong and stable. Brown tends to mostly deal with small
temptations which all of mankind must encounter. His journey into the forest specifically
represents to Brown a temporary breaking point in the relationships as seen when he
states, "After this one night, I'll cling to her [his wife, Faith] skirts and follow her
to heaven". (Hawthorne) Followers affiliated with a sect of the Christian faith often find
themselves justifying their sinful behavior by promising God that it will be a solo

When Brown first encounters the Devil in the forest, he replies to the Devil's reproach
for his lateness, saying "Faith kept me back awhile" (Hawthorne). Brown genuinely desires
to flee from the journey with the Devil. He endures the exposure of truth that the deacons
and selectmen of his village which he previously held in high regard traveled the same
path in which he was on; and the discovery that Goody Cloyse, the woman who had taught him
his catechism, is a witch does not influence his determination to turn back: "What if a
wretched old woman do choose to go to the devil when I thought she was going to heaven: is
that any reason why I should quit my dear Faith and go after her?" (Hawthorne) His naivety
and innocence convinces him at this time that he will return to town with a clear
conscious and live life "so purely and sweetly now, in the arms of Faith!" (Hawthorne)

As he travels deeper into the forest towards the Witches Sabbath, Brown calls three times
to Faith for help, and it is not until he notices the pink ribbon from Faith's cap
fluttering from the sky and caught on a branch of a tree that he discards all hope,
calling out "My Faith is gone" (Hawthorne). When Brown finally reaches the meeting of the
townspeople, his hope rises again because his wife Faith, whom he expects to see is not
there. However, she soon unfortunately joins him and the others whom are about to undergo
initiation. They are the "only pair, as it seemed who were yet hesitating on the verge of
wickedness in the dark world" (Hawthorne). They stare at each other in frightened
anticipation, and for the last time Brown calls out for help: "Faith! Faith!...Look up to
heaven, and resist the wicked one" (Hawthorne). But "whether Faith obeyed he knew not"
(Hawthorne). The whole scenario of the witches' Sabbath vanishes in an instant, and Brown
finds himself alone in the wilderness.

Whether we think of the experience of the witches' Sabbath as a dream or a "real"
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