Identify five Romantic characteristics and find lines (or passages) from the story to support each characteristic giving your reasons for your choice. First of all, we have to point out that Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” belongs to a subgenre of American Romanticism; dark romanticism. 1. Nonrational side of human nature: apart from emotions, imagination and intuition, in this short story by Nathaniel Hawthrone, we can see the darker side of human nature in the characters.The idea of Man is inherently sinful and evil is constantly present. We observe how the writer explores the effects of sin and the conflict between good and evil.
* “Welcome, my children” said the dark figure, “to the communion of your race! Ye have found, thus young, your nature and your destiny”. * “Evil is the nature of mankind”. Evil must be your only happiness”. * We also find the conflict of the character between good and evil: * “With Heaven above, and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil”. / /“My Faith is gone (…) there is no good on earth, and sin is but a name.
Come, devil! For to thee is this world given”. * “Faith! Faith! , look up to Heaven, and resist the Wicked One”. 2. Descriptions of Nature: seen as vast and incomprehensible. The natural world is a place dark, cruel, decaying, mysterious, dark forests, etc. Hawthrone shows this definition of Nature with descriptions with a dark vocabulary about the forest where Young Googman Brown is going in.
* “He had taken a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to led the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind”. “(…) hunted forest” // “(…) among the black pines (…) the echoes of the forest laughing like demons around him” 3.Setting: Remote periods of history and exotic places: is an aspect very used in this story. Hawthrone returns to the Puritan Era locating the action in Salem Village and he mentions some historical facts with relevance like The Salem Witchcraft trials of 1692, King Philip’s war or Quakers.
* “(…) into the streets of Salem Village” // “Then Goody Cloyse knows her old friend” * “(…) to set fire to an Indian village in King Philip’s War”. “(…) when he lashed the Quaker woman so smartly through the streets of Salem”. 4. Use of symbolism: the writer elaborates his figurative representations through the use of allegory and symbolism, which acts as the focus and expression of the protagonist’s mental processes or to express deeper psychological or archetypal themes.
The most representatives:The name of Goodman Brown’s wife, Faith. Her own name is a symbol of the loss of Faith of the protagonist through the whole story as he’s going inside the forest. * “But, where is my Faith? / “My Faith is gone”. b) The figure of the Devil which walks as Young Goodman’s companion through the forest. Represented with the snake on his staff. * “(…) was his staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought, that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself, like a living serpent (…)” c) The “light”: the darkness setting is a common aspect in Romanticism, and in this story the writer plays with the symbolism of darkness and light as evilness Vs brighter place, “prithee put off your journey until sunrise”.
“he looked up to the sky, doubting whether there really was a heaven above him.Yet there was the blue arch, and the stars brightening in it” but later “a cloud, though no wind was stirring, hurried across the zenith and hid the brightening stars”. He tries to fight the darkness (evil) but deep inside he wants to keep the road being away from the light (faith, kind). * “(…) between gloom and splendor” 5.
Moral allegory: as a many of the dark romantic’s stories, Young Goodman Brown presents a moral allegory at the end of it.We can see how the protagonist tries not to go inside the unknown forest because he knows that he will be capture by evilness but at the end, he goes anyway. He finds out how all the people he thought he knew are living in sin and hypocrisy (through a dream, we don’t really know). This strange experience turns him into a different person that is not able to see the people as he did before.
He felt to evil and died hopeless. * “A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man, did he become, from the night of that fearful dream” * “(…) they carved no hopeful verse upon his tomb-stone; for his dying hour was gloom”.