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Young Goodman Brown

Young Goodman Brown


by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Analysis: Tough-o-Meter

We've got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you'll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)

(6) Tree Line

You can literally go through "Young Goodman Brown" and divide the story up using two columns—"super difficult," and "super easy." In fact, let's do this right now.

Super difficult: Hawthorne's long, convoluted sentences.

Super easy: Hawthorne's by-the-book, rising action-falling action plot.

Super difficult: moral and philosophical issues like hypocrisy and sin.

Super easy: the simple fact that young Goodman Brown becomes a miserable man.

We could keep going, but we think you see the point: "Young Goodman Brown" is both astonishingly tough and not tough at all, sometimes in the same sentence. And "both tough and not tough at all" is an unexpected—and, at the end of the day, tough—combination.

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