Young Goodman Brown

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Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804—1864) American novelist and short-story writer


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Allegorical tale by Hawthorne, published in The New England Magazine (1835) and in Mosses from an Old Manse (1846).

Goodman Brown, a Puritan of early Salem, leaves his young wife Faith, who pleads with him not to go, to attend a witches' sabbath in the woods. Among the congregation are many prominent people of the village and church. At the climax of the ceremonies, he and a young woman are about to be confirmed into the group, but he finds she is Faith, and cries to her to “look up to heaven, and resist the wicked one.” Immediately he is alone in the forest, and all the fearful, flaming spectacle has disappeared. He returns to his home, but lives a dismal, gloomy life, doomed to skeptical doubt of all about him, and never able to believe in goodness or piety.

Subjects: Literature.

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