Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown” is set in the Puritan village of Salem, Massachusetts. The setting alone immediately alerts the reader to the existence of numerous events to be revealed in an atmosphere of good and evil, gloom and doom, devils, and witchcraft. The entire story is a series of events taking protagonist Goodman Brown from a religious man of good morals to his inevitable loss of innocence.
From the outset of the story, the protagonist makes a fateful decision to leave his home and his wife to venture into the forest, which clearly symbolizes something supernatural and evil:
“My love and my Faith," replied young Goodman Brown, "of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee. My journey, as thou callest it, forth and back again, must needs be done 'twixt now and sunrise. What, my sweet, pretty wife, dost thou doubt me already, and we but three months married?"
With his wife expressing concern, Goodman Brown assures her that all...
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