The narrator asks, “Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch meeting?" What do you think? Why? What part of the story is a dream and what part is real?

Expert Answers

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

At the end of the story, it doesn't really seem to matter whether or not Goodman Brown dreamed the witches' meeting because he believes it was real, and it changes him for the rest of his life. When he sees his wife, Faith, again, he "looked sternly and sadly into her face, and passed on without a greeting." This is very unlike the feelings he had before he saw her (or dreamed that he saw her) in the woods the night before; then, he loved Faith and felt somewhat guilty for leaving her alone for the night. For the rest of his life, Brown remained "A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man [...]," and "his dying hour was gloom."

If it was a dream, it seems to have begun after Brown left home and sometime after he entered the forest, as his choice to leave Faith behind is crucial to his character's change. As he walked into the forest, he thought, "she's a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night, I'll cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven." In...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 764 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

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

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team