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While the students must write their own essay, enotes editors may provide suggestions of possible topics. In addition, students may wish to read some professional criticisms on the literary work and its author.
Critical essays have involved analysis of Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" in its allegorical dimension, its psychological dimension, or it moral dimension, or its dimension of ambiguity as "multiple choice." As an allegorical tale, the names of the characters are significant: Goodman Brown represents "Everyman" as Goodman is a title for someone beneath the rank of a gentleman; Faith is obviously Brown's Puritanical beliefs, the Old Man is the devil, and so on. As a psychological tale, interpretations have been made that Brown's Freudian id is in conlict with his ego and superego. As a narrative containing ambiguity, the story is open for various interpretations of Goodman's experience and his conclusions from it.
There are some excellent critical essays available here on enotes as cited below. Reading these may give birth to an original idea. For instance, rather than considering all of the characters or the main character, you may wish to focus on the influence of a secondary character, such as Faith and her influence upon Brown as affecting his final reaction. Or, perhaps you wish to interpret the story completely as a dream with the ambiguity of the forest scene as the conflict between Brown's subconscious and his conscious which begins to awaken--a conscious so influenced by Puritan doctrine.
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