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Monday, September 16, 2013

Soundtrack to Young Goodman Brown

Song 1: Jolene, Ray LaMontagne

The story of Goodman Brown begins with his leaving his wife and home to begin a long journey. Within the first few paragraphs it becomes apparent that Goodman's journey is one of darkness, "...Goodman Brown felt himself justified in making more haste on his present evil purpose." (Hawthorne, 53) The dialogue and descriptions of the setting in the beginning of this story clearly lead the reader to believe that Goodman's journey is not one that he typically goes on, but one that he has many doubts about. For the soundtrack, I wanted to find a song that told of a man on a sad and solemn journey. Jolene by Ray LaMontagne tells of a man on a weary journey back to his love, Jolene. A few lines in particular relate to the story of Goodman Brown quite strongly, especially:

"I ain't about to go straight
It's too late
I found myself face down in a ditch
Booze in my hair
Blood on my lips"

Goodman second guesses his motive to be on such an evil journey, and almost turns back to go home. But, he stays his evil course and continues on, much like the man in Jolene. 

A second lyric, and even stronger relation to Goodman's journey, is:

"Been so long since I seen your face
Or felt a part of this human race"

One of the most profound lines in the story is when the Devil says "Evil is the nature of mankind. Evil must be your only happiness." This line can be a direct link to the second line of the lyrics, and how the man has not felt a part of the human race for some time, just like Goodman Brown is just now converting to the evil side.

Song 2: Tribute, Tenacious D

Goodman Brown begins his solemn journey along a dark and narrow path. He soon comes in contact with an older man with a snake staff, presumed to be the Devil. Goodman continues his journey with his new companion, along this dark and narrow road. When reading this passage there was only one song that came to mind, Tribute by Tenacious D. While this song is a joke and is meant to be funny, it bears a strong resemblance to the story. The song tells of two brothers who were "hitchhiking down a long and lonesome road, when all of the sudden there shined a shiny demon, in the middle of the road." The Devil challenges them to sing the greatest song in the world in order to pass along the road. Like the brothers in the song, Goodman Brown is also faced with the Devil along a long and lonesome road. I strongly suggest watching the video to this song, it'll give you a few chuckles.

Song 3: Sacrifice, The Expendables

Goodman Brown and his demon companion continue their journey. Goodman Brown repeatedly has uneasy feelings about the journey, and questions whether or not he should go on. He has an inner struggle between deciding what is right and wrong. The song Sacrifice by the Expendables tells of lost opportunities and the fight to bring happiness to our lives. Goodman Brown is experiencing this exact struggle, and does not know whether happiness is at the end of his journey, or waiting for him back at home.

Song 4: Sail Away, The Rapture

Goodman's journey ends at the witch meeting, where he and Faith are to be converted into the cult of evil. It seems as though only Goodman and Faith had yet to be initiated into the dark world, and you get a sense that they have made this decision together and stand by each other in all circumstances of life. While reading this, I pictured Faith and Goodman standing hand-in-hand on the evil alter, somewhat like a wedding. As Goodman stands there with Faith, he begins to regret his decision, and even cries out "look up to heaven, and resist the wicked one." Sail Away by The Rapture is about "sailing away" with the one you love, no matter where that may be, even on "an ice covered hill," or in Faith and Goodman's case, to the dark world.

Song 5: Sleeping Children Are Still Flying, Blue Sky Black Death

When Goodman awakes the next morning he is in a bit of a daze. He does not recollect whether the witch meeting was a dream or reality. The song Sleeping Children Are Still Flying has few lyrics, but carries a dreamy aura through its beautiful instrumentals.

Nathaniel, Hawthorne. Young Goodman Brown. Penguin Group, 1996. Print.

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