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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Young Goodman Brown" Critique

Peyton Wolonsky

Blog Option 5: “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

            “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is an extremely creative piece of literature. It successfully portrays multiple gothic tropes such as the supernatural, the uncanny, a sense of mystery and dread, the pursued protagonist, and a strong moral closure. It is a helpful work of literature when learning about different aspects of gothic stories. It did not scare me like one would expect a gothic story to do, but instead enticed me to want to read further and find out what the journey of the story was going to lead to. “The cry of grief and terror was yet piercing the night, when the unhappy husband held his breathe for a response” (58). Hawthorne captivates his readers with suspense and makes you want to read further to the end to know what choices Goodman Brown makes.
            One could also argue that the motif of dreams is present in this story for it is not clear whether the events of the witch meeting and trial actually took place. Since all the townspeople that were present at the gathering presume their daily lives like nothing happened it is plausible that Goodman Brown was simply having a nightmare when he witnessed the events. I believe that his changed view of the townspeople that he lives among and used to hold with respect and love was the devil’s punishment to him even though he feels as though he did good by refusing to give in.
            The story can be perceived in many ways by Hawthorne’s readers and is why I find the piece so interesting. I would give “Young Goodman Brown” a rating of 4 and would definitely recommend it to a friend that enjoyed gothic literature. The only reason that I would not give it a perfect score of 5 is that I prefer it when gothic literature scares me or at least creates a sense of creepiness within me.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Young Goodman Brown." American Gothic Tales. Ed. Joyce C. Oates. New York: Penguin Group, 1996. 52-64. Print.

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