Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The Classics Circuit Gothic Literature Tour: American Short Stories of Irving and Hawthorne
Young Goodman Brown by Nathanial Hawthorne
Young Goodman Brown was first published in 1835, although it is set much earlier during the seventeenth century at a puritan settlement. Goodman Brown has left his wife Faith as he has work to do at night. He walks through dark woods at night and is joined by a mysterious stranger. He tells the stranger that he is late as “Faith kept me back awhile.” This stranger is in the guise of his dead grandfather and it is soon becomes apparent that it is the devil. The stranger knows all of Goodman Brown’s family, politicians, and catechism teacher quite well.
This was really a rather sad tale to lose all faith in God and mankind. I really loved how Goodman Brown’s wife name was Faith and that was used symbolically throughout the story as Goodman Brown tries to hold on and then loses his faith in mankind.
What makes this story gothic? The setting was the strange and scary wilderness with a meeting with the devil. You can’t get scarier than that! The hero is Goodman Brown with his seemingly innocent wife Faith as the heroine. The villain is the worse villain of all – the devil himself.