What details of the “witch-meeting” parallel those of a church communion service? Why does the congregation include “grave, reputable, and pious people” as well as known sinners?

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cmcqueeney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a few ways that the with meeting parallels a church communion service.  First of all, the whole congregation is gathered together.  Next, communion is usually considered to be a very serious and solemn time, often accompanied by a mournful hymn, such as what is being sung in the short story.  Also, in many churches congregants come forward to the altar to receive the communion from the priest, similar to how Goodman Brown and Faith meet at the altar in front of the 'priest' in the story.  And the final similarity that I see is that communion is a time to focus on and remember your sin.  In YGB, the dark figure reminds the protagonist and his wife about the sin present in all people.  The difference from that point however, is that communion in a church also focuses on forgiveness for sin whereas the ritual in the witch-meeting never offers forgiveness.

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Young Goodman Brown

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