What's the theme of "Young Goodman Brown"?

The theme of "Young Goodman Brown" is humanity's weak and corruptible nature. Goodman Brown lives in Salem with his aptly-named wife Faith, whose religious conviction assures Brown that she will be safe while he meets with the Devil. Brown's faith falters when he sees Goody Cloyse, his catechism teacher, speak with the Devil. In the end, Brown's faith hinges entirely on those around him: as soon as he realizes that his friends and family are sinners, he loses all faith in humanity and joins in the Black Mass. He spends the rest of his life suspicious of everyone around him, ashamed of his weakness.

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The theme of “Young Goodman Brown” is the fragility of human spirituality.

Nathaniel Hawthorne frames his short story as an allegory, and the names of the two main characters, Goodman and Faith, immediately reinforce the religious undertone. Hawthorne uses seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts as the setting for many of his works, which allows him to critique the Puritans and specifically their teaching of predestination.

After young Goodman Brown encounters the devil and the seemingly dark religious event in the woods, his religious beliefs are clearly shaken. The woods are described as dark and unfamiliar, which ultimately confuses Goodman, as he cannot determine if the events in the woods are reality or a dream state.

This mirrors the relationship between the pious and their beliefs, as deeply religious people must submit to a profound lack of understanding. In the woods, Goodman witnesses the ostensibly religious townsfolk participating in a blasphemous ceremony. This one night...

(The entire section contains 6 answers and 957 words.)

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