What is the moral or the lesson that we can take from "Young Goodman Brown"?
Speaking within the language of Christian theology, "Young Goodman Brown" is a story about the nature of sin. It also examines and questions the degree to which the capacity for evil overshadows the human condition. Indeed, in the story's very beginning, Hawthorne writes that Brown is departing "on his present evil purpose". As the story continues, Brown joins the company of the Devil, and eventually witnesses a witches's Sabbath. This experience provides him with insight into the more unpleasant side of humanity, simultaneously crippling his faith in the people around him.
One of the more interesting questions that this story raises—and one that Hawthorne gives no answer to—is whether Brown's vision was real or imagined. Certainly, Brown treated the vision as real in his own life, but there's a real question worth asking as to whether this vision was trustworthy in either case. After all, even if Brown's experience in the forest really did happen, it remains the case that he was...
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