Critical Analysis of “Young Goodman Brown

Atalie Delapaz


English 1302


Critical Analysis of “Young Goodman Brown

The “Young Goodman Brown” story by Nathaniel Hawthorne narrates the fascinating dream of Goodman Brown, a man coming from Salem. In the dream, Brown comes into the encounter with evil and is enforced to observe the nature of evil in society. In this story, symbolism is greatly used. The story was based during the Puritan era. The narrator describes that Goodman brown went on a journey into the forest; he believes he saw many members of his community out in the forest. He believed the people in his community including his wife faith were attending the “devils” ceremony. The narrator implies that Brown may have been sleeping, though the experience was real.


The author starts the story in an atmosphere that is full of mystery and suspense. From the story, we can see that Brown is on an individual journey in the forest, but we are not aware of where he is going and for what reasons (Hawthorne, p.3). Moreover, there is little background information presented concerning his life. All that is shown is Brown’s happy marriage with Faith and the encounters with evil and the hypocrisy of his country people.

Rising action

Goodman Brown meets with a stranger with a snake-shaped object into the woods. Things start becoming complicated for Brown by the mysterious things happening around him. For example when a minister together with the deacon passes by talking about devil worshipping and some evil stuff (Hawthorne, p.43). To make matters worse Brown in some instance hears his wife’s voice and he became convinced that his wife was up to some evil things.


The devilish experiences above lead to Brown believing that his wife has obtained some evil spell. The situations around make him worried that his wife is running through the forest. However, Brown refuses to give in into the temptations of joining the evil.

Falling action

After the horrible night experiences, Brown returns home in the morning a worried person. He could believe what he experienced at night. Consequently, there is a sequence of conflicts that arise after that. Brown is seen trying hard as much as possible to counterattack the devilish influences by the residents of his home area. Brown sees them as being devilish and deceitful. However, the author does not present to us in what ways they are wicked and hypocritical, and the story ends.


However, this does not seem to be the end of everything. This is because the author at some point jumps into some years and narrates what Brown ends up becoming in life and the story leaves us with suspicion.

Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Young Goodman Brown and other stories. Alma Books, 2018.