Can anyone point me as to what narrative references would help me to prove that Brown can be forgiven for what he became after his trip?I have to write an essay on whether or not Brown can be ...

Can anyone point me as to what narrative references would help me to prove that Brown can be forgiven for what he became after his trip?

I have to write an essay on whether or not Brown can be  forgiven for what he has become after his trip. I feel he can because everyone can be forgiven if one simply asks, but I need supporting narrative and I am not great at comprehension or making inferences.

Asked on by mrosario34

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the themes of Hawthorne's narratives on the Puritans is the unforgiving nature of this sect.  His novel "Scarlet Letter" and short story "The Minister's Black Veil" underscore this theme of the Puritanical, sanctimonious condemnation of anyone who "sins."  As such a sanctimonious, self-righteous Puritan--he must be judged in the context of this Puritanism in Hawthorne's story--Goodman Brown, too, allows for no forgiveness. Throughout the story, because of the limitations of his Puritan faith, Brown never understands himself; instead, he perceives others as sinful and faithless. Thus, after his "dream," he becomes

a stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, in not a desperate man...from the night of that fearful dream.  On the Sabbath day, when the congregation were singing a holy psalm, he could not listen because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ears and drowned all the blessed strain.  When the minister spoke from the pulpit with power and fervid eloquence, and with his hand on the open Bible, of the sacred truths of our religion, and of saint-like lives and triumphant death and of future bliss or misery unutterable, then did Goodman Brown turn pale, dreading lest the roof should thunder down upon the gray blasphemer and his hearers.

The question, then, is not whether Goodman Brown can be forgiven, but whether Brown can forgive others that, in his Puritanical self-righteousness, he perceives as condemned.  To use the Puritan/Calvinistic term, these people are the "damned" and Brown a member of the "elect."

Nathaniel Hawthorne's story "Goodman Brown," like his other narratives, examines the unforgiving and stringent nature of Puritanic Calvinism that denies the humanity of man.  This religion adamantly refuses to acknowledge the possibility of redemption.  For this reason, the "desperate" young Goodman Brown in his Puritanism cannot forgive his community and perceives them as "blasphemers" when he, himself, is the man who has lost faith in his despair.

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