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How does Hawthorne raise the issue of perceived reality in "Young Goodman...

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merandarobinson | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 25, 2008 at 9:41 AM via web

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How does Hawthorne raise the issue of perceived reality in "Young Goodman Brown"?

Please give examples as it relates to my question and explain how each of the examples points to the idea/theme you have.

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lizbv | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted August 25, 2008 at 9:48 AM (Answer #1)

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It is never made clear whether or not Goodman Brown's experiences that night were a dream or actual events.  At the end, no one ever brings up those events, including Brown, so even Brown himself is unsure.  This is one way in which Hawthorne brings into play the concept of perceived reality.

Furthermore, Brown's perceived reality up until that night were that he was surrounded by people who lived a Puritan life, free of sin and malice.  The events that transpire on that night make him question what he has deemed as his reality in life up until that point.  Brown is now questioning everyone aruond him, including hsi wife Faith, and is also unsure now of his own faith in his religion and his society. His perceived reality was negated by the events that night and, ever after, whether true events or figments of his imagination, they have affected him for a lifetime.

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