The word “Romanticism” generates a general assumption of an abundance of love and romance. However, it has a deeper meaning more than what it may seem to portray. It is also important to acknowledge that love could be part of romanticism. In the Young Goodman Brown, Hawthorne expresses romanticism in the Puritan society, whereby, people in this society believe that God chooses to bless some people more than others.
The author sets his story on the constant conflicts within the Puritan culture and utilizes the epic use of symbolism in bringing out the general theme of the book. It is mostly centered on the Young Goodman Brown’s travel into self-scrutiny and conflicts that later makes him lose faith in Christianity, as well as his virtues and beliefs. Therefore, this essay aims at illustrating Goodman Brown’s character roles that makes him a complex character such as his dynamic nature, man versus self-conflicts as well as his lack of true religion.
Firstly, Goodman Brown is a dynamic character. He is unpredictable and the author brings him out as a person both innocent and corruptible at the same time. His inconstant nature is shown when he vacillates between trusting his people are good and trusting that the wickedness has invaded the community of the populace he loved and therefore, they were not trustable. The dynamic characteristics of Brown serve symbolically as a representation of the real Puritan society. When he is awakened by the evil nature of his community, Goodman Brown justifies the hidden corruption in the Puritan society. He grew up believing in the faith of his father and the elders proclaimed, as well as the fundamental building blocks of that faith… “There may be a devilish Indian behind every tree,” said Goodman Brown to himself; and he glanced fearfully behind him, as he added, “What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow!”… (Hawthorne, n.d.)
Secondly, Goodman Brown has man versus self-conflicts. It is the highlight of his characteristics as he struggles with comprehending what is happening within his society. He is also a little bit confused on which way to follow as he rapidly loses faith and trust in those people he loved. In the beginning of the narration, he completely believed in the right actions of his parents, that is, his father and grandfather until the moment the old man—presumably the serpent—informed him that he knew them all. At this point, Goodman Brown’s perception and reality transform into one quagmire of confusion. Whom should he believe? And what way should he follow? These are some of the questions that probably split his thoughts. He had also believed that Faith, his wife, was good until, in the ceremony, the devil reveals to him that Faith was corruptible as well… “Poor little Faith!” thought he, for his heart smote him. “What a wretch am I, to leave her on such an errand! She talks of dreams, too… “Faith! Faith!” cried the husband. “Look up to Heaven, and resist the Wicked One!” Most notably, the moment Brown is ready and prepared to trip the forest while he has no thought what will come about is a suggestion of delicate nature of humans, even the most faithful in nature such as the Puritans.
Lastly, Goodman Brown lacks true religion. He confirms he has both the good and the bad reside within him. He is easily shaken by the events and his faith is delicate. He strongly believed in the Christian ways of Goody Cloyse until the time the devil reveals to him that she is a witch. It is a trait that reveals the delicate nature of a human heart, just as it is highlighted in the Sparknotes (2018); Goodman Brown succumbed to the devil because of the hypocrisy and the weak nature of his faith… “And when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave, a hoary corpse, followed by Faith, an aged woman, and children and grand-children, a goodly procession, besides neighbors, not a few, they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone; for his dying hour was gloom.” (Hawthorne, n.d.)
Hawthorne, N. (n.d.). Young Goodman Brown. Retrieved February 22, 2018, from http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/younggoodmanbrown.html
Sparknotes. (2018). Young Goodman Brown. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from Sparknotes: http://www.sparknotes.com/short-stories/young-goodman-brown/section3/