In "Young Goodman Brown", what are the stages of Brown's gradual disillusionment? And why doesn't Brown turn back, as he resolves to do?

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timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Brown enters the forest on a journey of personal discovery, an introduction into the world of the less.than.perfect.  He moves from people he knows in the village to members of his family right on to F/faith at the climactic scene at the "black mass" in the forest.  The closer the person is to him, the more his disillusionment grows.  Lost of his F/faith is the ultimate disillusionment.

He doesn't turn back because this is a journey that all of us must undertake.  No matter how determined we are to keep to our vision of innocence, our childlike trust in the world, we all must come to grips with the complex, less that perfect, nature of all of us.  As Brown says in the beginning of the story, he must undertake this journey one night, and then he'd come back to this F/faith forever.   There is no evidence that the events recounted in the story ever happened ... it's clear they may have been just a dream, but that's not important because their effect is the same in his life ... disillusionment. Whatever its consequences, this is a journey Brown had to take, and there was no turning back ....

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Young Goodman Brown

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