What is the overall meaning of the story Young Goodman Brown

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The overall meaning of Young Goodman Brown is that a good and pious Christian man, a newly wed with every hope of happiness before him and his bride Faith at his side, discovers, through a happenstance that turns into deliberate action, that all the townspeople whom he has admired and looked up to for spiritual guidance and teaching are in league with evil in the person of the Devil. He finds himself in the midst of a meeting deep in the dark forest on the very evening when his beloved wife is appointed to join ranks with the other worshipers of evil. Young Goodman Brown is shocked and disillusioned to find that everyone he knows does evil deeds and upholds evil deeds while pretending to be good. He is never able to trust anyone or love anyone after that, not even his own wife, Faith. Some suggest that had Young Goodman Brown learned to forgive, all would have been well. A different opinion is that Hawthorne was showing that early Puritans should have cried out along with Young Goodman Brown to resist evil.