Is the plot of "Young Goodman Brown" linear?

The plot of "Young Goodman Brown" is linear. It follows a chronological order, from when Goodman Brown leaves his home in the evening, goes into the woods, and comes back the next morning.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The plot of "Young Goodman Brown" is linear and chronological. It is as if a video camera is following Goodman Brown step-by-step on his journey into the woods.

The story begins with Goodman Brown saying goodbye to his wife Faith as he leaves for a nighttime journey. He...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The plot of "Young Goodman Brown" is linear and chronological. It is as if a video camera is following Goodman Brown step-by-step on his journey into the woods.

The story begins with Goodman Brown saying goodbye to his wife Faith as he leaves for a nighttime journey. He tells her he will return the next morning. We follow him as he goes past the meetinghouse and looks back at Faith in her pink ribbons.

Goodman Brown enters a gloomy, foreboding woods of dark trees. At first he is all alone on a narrow path. Then a man who had been sitting at the foot of a tree joins him. As Goodman Brown walks, he sees old Goody Cloyse, who used to teach him in Sunday School. Goody Cloyse identifies Goodman Brown's companion as the devil, but says, too, that he looks like Brown's grandfather.

Soon after, Goodman Brown stops and says:

Not another step will I budge on this errand.

Goodman Brown crouches in the woods. He watches as people go by on foot and on horseback. This gives people who might have started out later—such as Faith—a chance to get to the destination ahead of him.

When Goodman Brown hears Faith's voice, he moves forward again, racing through the wood when he sees her pink ribbon flutter through the air. He arrives at a devil's worship service, peopled by his neighbors and Faith. The next morning, he comes back home. The narrative proceeds in a straightforward way from evening to the next morning without the insertion of another story or flashback.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team