"Young Goodman Brown" has two distinct settings. What are the differences between these two settings? What significance does each setting have?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting of Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Young Goodman Brown" is set in a village during early American colonial times and in a nearby forest. The village represents safety among a group who values living the commandments from the Bible. In the village, people are expected to act appropriately according to the values which the they all hold as right and true. However, the forest represents the wild away from safety in numbers and values. The forest, especially at night, is dark and shades all who go therein from others seeing their deeds. The forest is mysterious and causes Young Goodman Brown to be curious about what goes on there at night. The setting thus represents not only a village and its forest, but the metaphorical settings for our souls. If one stays within the village then one is secure and safe from the evils that can be found in the forest--or a place of darkness and sin.