What do you make of the fact that the strange man in the woods in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" closely resembles Brown?

Asked on by snake3700

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rshaffer | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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In literature, it is not uncommon for the devil to appear in a form that is familiar to the person he is deceiving.  Therefore, Hawthorne having the strange man in the woods look like Brown gives credibility to Brown continuing on this journey even when he has doubts.  In addition, resembling Brown himself foreshadows Brown's realization that all mankind at some point in life has dealings with the devil, including Brown's own family.  Thus, the devil in Brown's likeness connects Brown and all kin to the evil in the world.

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