In “Young Goodman Brown,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Goodman Brown is tempted by the evil that surrounds him and he must keep his faith in order to resist it. The use of the events, characters, and symbols throughout the story show that evil is present in the people of the town in which Goodman Brown lives and how Goodman Brown’s faith in them is lost. Humanity is basically flawed and people struggle with making the choice between good and evil. Throughout the story, Goodman Brown is worried about the idea of the townspeople finding out about his meeting with the devil.
Goodman Brown thinks a lot about how his father and grandfather would have never done anything like he was doing. Goodman Brown says, “We have been a race of honest men and good Christians . . . ”(p1208. ) Then Goodman Brown finds out from the devil that his father and grandfather had done evil things. The devil tells Goodman Brown, “I have been as well acquainted with your family as with ever a one among the puritans. ”(P1208. ) After Goodman Brown hears this, he begins to question his own faith and the faith of the people from his town. While Goodman Brown is walking with the devil through the oods, he starts seeing some of the respected towns people. The first person Goodman Brown sees is Goody Cloyse. He decides to hide in the woods in order not to be seen by her because he is afraid of what she might think of him talking with the devil. Goodman Brown tells the devil, “I shall take a cut through the woods until we have left this Christian woman behind. ”(p1209. ) While Goodman Brown is hiding, he hears the devil and Goody Cloyse speaking. Goody Cloyse greats the devil and then tells him that her broomstick was stolen just as she was ready to perform some kind of spell.
Goodman Brown is in complete shock by her words. He never thought that such a lady as Goody Cloyse would have been dealing with such evil. Goodman Brown later tells the devil, “What if a wretched old woman do choose to go to the devil when I thought she was going to heaven: is that any reason why I should quit my Faith and go after her? ”(p1210. ) Soon after Goodman Brown sees Goody Cloyse the minister and Deacon Gookin from the town church ride nearby on horses. Goodman hears the men talking about going to a group meeting with the devil in the woods and how they would not miss it for anything in the orld. This makes Goodman Brown lose even more faith in the members of his town and question his own actions as well. Finally the devil leaves Goodman Brown to his thoughts and lets him walk alone. While Goodman Brown is walking through the forest, he hears a sound coming from up above him. He looks up and sees a cloud; within the cloud he hears the voices of townspeople he knows, and the voice of his wife, Faith, “… uttering lamentations… ”(p1211. ) Goodman Brown begins to cry out to his wife hoping to save her from the evil she is surrounded by.
Then Goodman Brown listens for a reply and, “There was a scream, drowned immediately in a louder murmer of voices, fading into far-off laughter, as the dark cloud swept away… ” (p1212. ) Goodman Brown watches the cloud blow away and then he sees one of the pink ribbons from his wife’s hair fall down from the sky. Goodman knows at this moment that his wife’s innocence and faith are gone. He cries’ out, “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. ”(p1212. ) Goodman Brown finally loses all of his faith in the townspeople and he sees all of the evil that they mbody. Goodman Brown loses everything that he ever loved and believed in and is doomed to live out the rest of his life in his own misery and pain. Throughout the story “Young Goodman Brown,” Goodman Brown is pushed to the limits of his faith. He begins to question his faith in the townspeople and even in himself. Goodman Brown then witnesses firsthand how abundant evil is in the lives of the people of his town; the people he loved and thought were honest Christians. Once he realizes the truth about the people he looked up to and cared for, he eventually loses any faith he ever had in them.