What evidence in the story suggests that Brown’s journey into the forest represents a journey into his own heart in "Young Goodman Brown"?

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Young Goodman Brown," as your question suggests, is built on ambiguity: does Brown make a physical trip into the forest in this visit to his dark side, or is his journey purely psychological, occurring in a dream vision? Putting aside the very detailed realism with which Hawthorne describes Brown's journey and those he meets, readers with a modern sensibility believe the journey to be psychological for several reasons.

The belief system of the Puritans includes the conviction that evil in the form of witches and Satan himself are present in their lives both spiritually and physically—Satan, for example, can torment and tempt a person in dreams, and he can appear in life as himself or anyone else. Witches can appear in their human form, and they can torment others in their "spectral" form—that is, as spirit beings. So, it is quite possible that a young Puritan, testing his belief system, might actually take a journey to see whether he can encounter...

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