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Why is Goodman’s dying hour gloom, as the final line of the story tells us? Why...

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krazykate | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted February 3, 2009 at 11:59 AM via web

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Why is Goodman’s dying hour gloom, as the final line of the story tells us? Why should his dying hour be so filled with despair and devoid of hope?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 3, 2009 at 12:07 PM (Answer #1)

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After his experience in the forest, Goodman never learns to trust anyone again. He never learns that people are a mix of both good and evil. Some critics have even suggested that his inability to see both good and evil is a result of some unconfessed sin in his own life. Whatever, the cause, he ends up a very disillusioned man who sees evil everywhere. He cannot even trust Faith, his own wife. The isolation that results from his disillusionment causes him to be sad and hopeless. If he had ever been able to see both the good and bad sides of humans, he would have lived a far more realistic and probably, happier, life. 

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 3, 2009 at 12:32 PM (Answer #2)

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After Goodman Brown awakes in the forest alone he can not tell if what he experienced in the wood with his wife, Faith, and the devil was real or a dream.  No matter which it was he becomes suspicious of everyone.  He can no longer go to church and listen to the hymns the same way.  He had discovered that night that everyone is suseptible to sin and everyone falls.  He begins to treat everyone differently and he has lost his love and his "faith."  Because of what happened that night in the woods, he experiences a terrible and gloomy life.  So suspicious and angry that when he dies Hawthorn writes:

"And when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave, a hoary corpse, followed by Faith, an aged woman, and children and grand-children, a goodly procession, besides neighbors, not a few, they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone; for his dying hour was gloom."

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