Discuss situations and circumstances that cause people in today's society to enter a "dark forest" as Goodman Brown did.
Why do you suppose people are fascinated with stories about witchcraft, sorcery and magic?
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Regarding Nathaniel Hawthorne's story, "Young Goodman Brown," Brown travels into the wood on some mysterious errand. He is met by the Devil and learns that all those around him are not what they seem; even the most pious of the townspeople seem to have a connection to the Devil. Still, he continues on, believing he will be strong enough to resist temptation.
In terms of the fascination some people have with witchcraft, sorcery and/or magic, perhaps they, like Goodman Brown, are simply looking around. We will often contemplate things we don't understand. For many people it could be about doing something their parents or church has told them not to, or it may simply arise from a sense of curiosity.
Some people may be fascinated because of the danger they associate with it. People involve themselves in dangerous sports all the time for the thrill they receive, such as cave diving, skydiving, bungee jumping, or running with the bulls at Pamplona. The excitement is everything. It may also have to do with the fear associated with the "dark arts." In much the same manner that some folks go to scary movies for the rush of the fear, dabbling in witchcraft, etc., may give some people that same rush.
Some people may simply want to see if it is real: does whispering an incantation change anything?
Quite possibly people may feel already on the brink of society, not accepted and not comfortable. This may simply be a way of connecting to a subculture they might believe is more accepting of who they are or how they seem themselves.
Perhaps it is boredom that creates a fascination in people. The world of the unknown and unfamiliar always draws people to experience something they have never known before.
By the end of the story, Goodman Brown is a man changed forever. He turns his back on society, his faith, and his wife, losing his connection to the world, and dying a bitter and lonely old man. His passing experience with the "powers of darkness" didn't work out so well for him.
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