How would a feminist critic analyze "Young Goodman Brown"?How does Hawthorne portray Goody Cloyse and Faith in society?

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Another feminist approach might take into account nineteenth- century notions of the cult of domesticity that imagined woman as the vessel of purity and goodness. ( Remember that although the story takes place in the seventeenth century, Hawthorne wrote it in the nineteenth.) This ideology of womanhood informs making the wife a metaphor for Brown's Faith, and the pink ribbons in her hair call attention to her femininity in that respect. In leaving the domestic hearth and venturing into the wild (anything away from the home, which by the mid-nineteenth century included the world of industrial capitalism), men "relied on" the ideology of the domestic woman to compensate for and balance their activities and as a means to sanctify the home. When Brown loses "Faith," he loses that notion of "good woman," which causes a lack of faith in everything else he sees and lives.  Feminist critics would argue that the cult of domesticity--the purity and goodness of womanhood--was a powerful force that gave meaning to male activities.

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