Is Brown’s experience a dream or is it real (and does it matter)?It is about the story "The Young Goodman Brown"by Hawthorne.

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lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I edited your post down to this essential question because you are only allowed to ask one question at a time. 

Your second question is Hawthorne's whole point.  Whether Goodman Brown's experience in the woods was real or not absolutely does not matter.  Brown is forever changed by whatever it is he experienced that night -- dream or real.  Brown, like all human beings, is questioning the good and evil of his fellow man.  Once he sees people he assumed where good at a witch meeting with the Devil, he realizes that there is the potential for sin in everyone.  He assumes Faith is full of faith, but when he sees her pink ribbons in the woods, he realizes that even she is tempted by evil.  Once he comes to this realization, he can't come to any fair perspective on the issue.  He sees only the bad in people, discounting any of the good he saw before.  This knowledge turns him into a bitter and angry man who destroys his happiness and his faith in humanity.  The ultimate irony of the story is that the Devil's promised gift to the members of the meeting is the ability to see into the evil of man's secret heart.  Goodman Brown rejects the Devil's deal and "saves himself," but he still seems to end up with the knowledge, and that knowledge makes him a miserable person. 

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Young Goodman Brown

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