What are some similarities (and differences) between "Young Goodman Brown" and "The Birthmark"? What are some other intertwined themes between the two short stories?

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In both stories, the protagonists—Aylmer in "The Birthmark" and the titular Goodman Brown—use their wives, Georgiana and Faith, respectively, in order to better their own situations.

Regarding the removal of her birthmark, Aylmer says to his wife, "'what will be my triumph when I shall have corrected what Nature left imperfect in her fairest work!'" He feels absolutely assured of his ability to succeed in removing the crimson hand that marks her cheek, the birthmark that he feels is the only thing to mar her otherwise perfect beauty. Aylmer believes that, when he succeeds in perfecting what...

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car1ymi11er | Student

In the two short stories there is one theme that is clear cut in both of them. This theme is "Good vs. Evil." Both protagonists are faced with a conflict of deciding to stay virtuous or deciding to turn to evil. 

  • In "Young Goodman Brown" this theme is extraordinarily obvious. Should he stick to his Christian morals and believe that the townspeople truly are who they say they are (GOOD) or should he too follow the Devil since that is what other community members are doing (EVIL)
  • In "The Birthmark" Alymer is faced with the decision on whether or not to listen to all the people who think that his wife Georgina's birthmark is cute (GOOD) or whether he should follow through with his plan of removing it since it's very presence irks him so much.

Also, consider the use of women in each story as a similarity. The men in the short stories (Young Goodman Brown and Alymer) both are the protagonists. However, their stories would be nothing without the women.

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