Short Story Review: Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Friday, 10th November 2017

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Story Title: Young Goodman Brown

Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne

Date of Publication: 1835

 

The story begins with Goodman Brown leaving home reluctantly for unknown reasons, though it is implied it is something questionable. On his travels through a wooded area he meets a man, who is possibly the Devil. At first he wants nothing to do with the mysterious man. Time passes, the two continue on their path, despite Goodman’s desire to return home. People from his town pass through the forest on their way to a Devil worshiping ceremony. This leads Goodman to a sort of epiphany – that people are not as good or pious as they seem. He becomes bitter and frustrated for the remainder of his life.

 

I’ll include a link to the story, here.

 

What did I like?

This story is fairly ambigious in nature, and is – in my opinion – open to quite a significant amount of individual interpretation. I liked that it left a lot to the imagination and there was no force-feeding of exact information. In a weird way, I almost felt as though I was walking down a dark wooded path with a mysterious and somewhat dubious character.

 

What didn’t I like?

On the other hand, as I read the story I felt the story was very vague. Goodman Brown leaves home to do something – it’s never clearly stated – and meets a man en route. Did he intend to meet this man all along? (I got the impression he didn’t) If not where was he going? What was he doing? What was so bad about it? (As part of his inner monologue he feels what he’s doing is not a particularly good thing). Who really is this man? As the reader I can only speculate. What’s his interest in Goodman Brown? What does he want? There’s no clear motive for anything. The ending is a particularly gloomy ending and actually quite underwhelming. Goodman has this huge (at least for him) epiphany and it ends with him dying a miserable old man. It almost felt rushed.

 

Would I recommend it?

Yes, I would recommend it. It is an interesting story.

 

My Personal Rating: 3/5

 

Until next time,

Warm hugs

Morgenstern!

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