If we are to believe that Brown's entire journey into the woods was a dream ["Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest, and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting?. ."], and these experiences are only a product of his imagination, what was he supposed to learn from his experience?
I honestly do not believe that Young Goodman Brown is not supposed to learn anything. From the narrative, it is clear that Brown is aware that he is doing the wrong thing when he decides to venture into the forest at night despite his wife begging him not to go.
What lessons are readers supposed to learn from Brown's experience?
From the story, the readers learn that every aspect of life has both good and evil parts. The journey of Goodwin Brown opened his eyes to the evil that exists in the world. This revelation results in the loss of his innocence as he comes into the realization that there is no containing evil as it is apparent in every situation.
What role does religion play in Brown's life before the "dream," during the "dream," and after he "wakes"?
Before the dream, Goodman Brown is a devout Christian, and he even states that his family stems from a long generation of martyrs. Religion plays a significant role in Brown's life before, as he derives strength from his faith in his religion. During the dream, Brown relies on his belief for strength and comfort as he claims that he will stand firm against the devil before running into the forest to 'rescue' Faith whom he believes was taken against her will. However, after Brown wakes from his dream, his attitude towards religion changes. He becomes a person who has lost faith due to his inability to trust the honesty of the religion's believers.
Is Brown as much a hypocrite as he believes the Deacon to be at the story's end? Why or why not?
No, Brown is not as hypocritical as he believes the deacons to be since he was very affected by his dream. When he felt that his faith had been shaken, he did not attend church, unlike the other members of the church who participated in the sermon even after they sinned.
Why doesn't Brown remove himself from the church?
Brown does not remove himself from the church since he is uncertain whether his experience was real, or it was a dream. Furthermore, the fact that his family still came from a long line of respected martyrs prevented him from deserting the church.
If Brown is so appalled at his wife's apparent involvement, why doesn't he divorce her?
I believe that Brown did not divorce his wife is because he thought that she was pure and destined for heaven. He believes that his wife kept his faith steady. However, when he witnessed the corruption of Faith, he finally believes that the heart of man can be corrupted by evil.
Why is Brown's journey described in the beginning as an "evil purpose"?
The purpose of Goodman Brown's journey was identified as evil because he was doing something wrong. Brown believed that he was going to the forest to attend a witch meeting even though his wife begged him not to go. Even the aspect of going to the woods at night for the people was wrong.
Identify a quote that you think is significant with regard to the story's moral or message. Explain why the quote is important and how it would effectively represent the story.
"There may be a devilish Indian behind every tree. What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow!" (Hawthorne 1). This quote is essential as it indicates that even the holiest man can face temptations from the devil. The quote effectively represents the story as it points out that everyone is vulnerable to temptations from the devil.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Young Goodman Brown and Other Tales. OUP Oxford, 1998.
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