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Analysis

Literary Devices in Young Goodman Brown

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Hawthorne sure found some strange ways to commemorate the town where he was born. In the autobiographical sketch that opens The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne made his native Salem look like a cross bet...

Narrator Point of View

For the most part, Hawthorne's narrator follows around young Goodman Brown. But pay attention to that "for the most part," because here are some fascinating exceptions. At one point, the narrator d...

Genre

Things you'll find in Gothic fiction: spooky settings, mysterious characters, and all sorts of supernatural craziness. Things you'll find in philosophical literature: deep, difficult statements abo...

Tone

For the bonus round, name one thing that made you laugh in "Young Goodman Brown"? We're waiting. And still waiting. And still waiting for you to—oh forget it, we've made our point. Now, Hawthorne...

Writing Style

Hawthorne has a tendency to pack lots and lots of information into long, twisting sentences. For instance: And yet, though the elder person was as simply clad as the younger, and as simple in manne...

What's Up With the Title?

"Young Goodman Brown": it's just the name of the main character. Pretty simple, right? Well, it does help to know that a "goodman" is a man of humble but respectable birth —the Puritan middle cla...

What's Up With the Ending?

Check out our ending: And when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave a hoary corpse, followed by Faith, and aged woman, and children and grandchildren, a goodly process, besides neighbors n...

Tough-o-Meter

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 lo...

Plot Analysis

Now Departing Salem on Woodland Track TwoHawthorne starts us off in atmosphere of suspense and mystery. We learn that young Goodman Brown is going on a "journey" through the forest but we don't kno...

Trivia

Master of horror, meet master of horror: Stephen King said that "Young Goodman Brown" inspired his short story, "The Man in the Black Suit." (source) In 1836, Hawthorne became the editor of the Ame...

Steaminess Rating

First things first: if you think that young Goodman Brown's children were delivered by storks, then you and your parents need to sit down and have a nice, long talk. More importantly, though, there...

Allusions

The Bible (Genesis throughout, Exodus 7.11 in paragraph 36)John Bunyan (The Pilgrim's Progress)John Milton (Paradise Lost)"The Gray Champion" (another Hawthorne story; "Young Goodman Brown" was att...
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