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Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Hawthorne is a master of allegory and symbolism, and as a result his works are fertile ground for discussion of moral and social issues. Through his presentation of details about physical setting, through subtle suggestions about the characters, and through his controlled use of point of view, Hawthorne transforms the story of a man's encounter with Satan-worshippers into a tale suggestive of every person's struggle to determine the innermost thoughts of those they know — including those with whom they are most intimate. The wisdom of undertaking that quest and the consequences of having done so are sure sparks for heated debate among readers who frequently have differing ideas about the efficacy of probing deeply into the motivations of others.

1. Puritan doctrine was based on the notion that man's nature is inherently evil, but salvation is offered through God's grace; those who were to be saved would know that God had favored them with his grace, and their lives would reflect that favor. How is this doctrine examined in "Young Goodman Brown?" What is Hawthorne's...

(The entire section is 351 words.)