Young Goodman Brown
Memory and the Past Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Too far, too far!" exclaimed the goodman, unconsciously resuming his walk. "My father never went into the woods on such an errand, nor his father before him. We have been a race of honest men and good Christians, since the days of the martyrs. And I shall be the first of the name of Brown, that ever took this path, and kept—"
Goodman Brown has a pretty rosy view of the past. Sorry, dude, but we've all got skeletons in our closets—or at least, that one weird uncle with the shady past. As a devil-worshiper.
"Good, Goodman Brown! I have been as well acquainted with your family as with ever a one among the Puritans; and that's no trifle to say. I helped your grandfather, the constable, when he lashed the Quaker woman so smartly through the streets of Salem. And it was I that brought your father a pitch-pine knot, kindled at my own hearth, to set fire to an Indian village, in king Philip's war. They were my good friends; and many a pleasant walk have we had along this path, and returned merrily after midnight. I would fain be friends with you, for their sake." (17-18)
Public whipping and village-burning: now there are some ancestral deeds to be proud of. Not. On the plus side, it's unlikely that Goodman Brown is planning anything quite so nefarious.
It was now deep dusk in the forest, and deepest in that part of it where these two were journeying. As nearly as could be discerned, the second traveler was about fifty years old, apparently in the same rank of life as Goodman Brown, and bearing a considerable resemblance to him, though perhaps more in expression than features. Still they might have been taken for father and son. (13)
So, which is it: an unsettling representation of the future Goodman Brown? A resurrected version of young Goodman Brown's actual father? Or just a guy who happens to look a lot like our intrepid hero?