Why does Faith try to prevent Goodman Brown from going out? How does she try to encourage him not to go?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the beginning of Nathaniel Hawthorne's “Young Goodman Brown,” the protagonist is about to set out on a journey late one day, and his wife, Faith, asks him not to go. She wants him to put off his journey until the morning and sleep in his bed that night. “A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts,” she says, “that she's afeard of herself, sometimes.” Faith is apparently fearful of being left at home alone.

Goodman Brown tells Faith that he must go, and she responds that she hopes everything will be well when he returns. He agrees and assures her that no harm will come to her if she says her prayers and goes to bed at dusk.

This seems like a normal scenario of a young wife unsure of being home by herself overnight, but as the story progresses, we wonder if Faith might have another reason for not wanting her husband to travel that night. There is a mystery here, and Young Goodman Brown sees many strange things that night on the road, including, he thinks, his own wife involved in acts of witchcraft. We are never told if the horrifying scenes are real or if Young Goodman Brown only dreams them, yet he is never the same again, nor is his relationship with his wife ever characterized by loving affection after that night on the road.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on