Was everything Brown saw in "Young Goodman Brown" real or imaginary?

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Even though Hawthorne leaves the interpretation of Goodman Brown's experience up to the reader, there are various elements that suggest Brown's experience was indeed imaginary. The magical nature of the enigmatic fellow traveler's staff, the ominous black cloud that follows Brown through the forest, the diverse congregation participating in the Black Mass, and the sudden disappearance of the deacon, minister, and Goody Cloyse suggest that Brown's experience was imaginary. The fact that Brown also uses the traveler's staff to fly through the forest to participate in the Black Mass, where Faith is suddenly present, also suggests that his experience was imaginary.

Regardless of whether Brown's experience was real or imaginary, the outcome of his loss of faith negatively impacts the remainder of Brown's life. After waking up in the forest, Brown becomes suspicious of his community's religious leaders and recognizes them has debased hypocrites who hide their sins and attempt to conceal their...

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