Study Guide

Young Goodman Brown Tough-o-Meter

By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Tough-o-Meter

(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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