Good Exploring Hawthorne Literature Review Example

Type of paper: Literature Review

Topic: Literature, Evil, Ethics, People, Women, Family, Trust, Religion

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/02/10


This story begins with the main character, Goodman Brown, kissing his wife goodbye and leaving her despite her protestations. At this point, Brown shows his faith in better things by asking his wife to pray for him. Brown has an evil purpose in his trip. He travels through the woods, feeling the fear of the evil around him. He runs into a man with a walking who had obviously been seeking him. The strange man offers Brown his walking stick, and brown refuse, citing his own Christian background. This is the climax of the story; the evil man tells Brown that his father and grandfather both came to see him. At this point, Brown loses faith in humanity. He returns to his village and none of his relationships are ever the same again. He sees the evil in everybody, including his wife. He dies bitter and without hope.


The events themselves follow a chronological order. There is foreshadowing of the evil to come during the conversation between Brown and his wife. Foreshadowing also appears while Brown walks through the woods. He speaks of feeling the evil he has.

Type of Story:

This story has several elements of different story types. It is first and foremost a short story. Within the short story, it also has elements of both a parable and a fable. Parables and fables both are meant to teach lessons, and this story has a definitive lesson to it. It teaches about placing too much trust in people, and avoiding temptation.


This story contains two main characters. The protagonist is Goodman Brown, and the next main character is the old man, who is possibly a representation of the devil.
The story then has four supporting characters. There is Goodman Brown’s wife, Faith. In the beginning of the story Faith represents innocence and purity. She speaks to Goodman in a sad, but loving tone. Unfortunately, she eventually becomes an object of Goodman’s distrust. Then there is Goody Cloyse. Goody is known to help children learn the bible and is considered a pious women. In Goodman’s night time adventure, Goody admits she is a witch and uses a derisive tone towards Goodman, going so far as to call him a fool. The Minister and Deacon Gookin both are introduced at the same time. They say little, but are intent on making the night time meeting.


The setting is in Salem, Massachusetts. It takes place at dusk in a deepest part of the forest. There is a definite pathway being travelled. Dew has set. Although time of year is not shared, one can surmise it is spring or summer since the leaves are on the trees. It gets deeper into night, as stars begin shining. There is a pagan alter made of stone in the depth of the woods.


There are several symbols throughout the story. The location of the story itself is a symbol. Salem is famously known for its witch trials. The next symbol is Faith’s pink ribbons. They represent purity and innocence. When she is found worshiping the devil, her ribbons are gone. The old man carries a walking stick with a serpent on it. The serpent is representative of the devil in the Garden of Eden. In fact, the entire woods could be interpreted as a Garden of Eden, where the pious people go and are tempted to worship Satan.

Language and Style:

I think the moral to the story is not to over trust people. First of all, Goodman places so much trust in the people around him he cannot handle the thought of them being imperfect. Secondly, he places so much trust in the old man in the woods that he believes everything he sees even though it may just be a vision or dream. In the end, this kind of blind trust destroys Goodman.

Historical Context:

Setting the story in Salem speaks volumes about Hawthorne’s intent. Salem was the setting for a horrible witch hunt, where people were killed simply on the word of another person’s accusation. With the strict religious atmosphere, people were not extended grace if they made a mistake. Hawthorne takes this to an extreme on this story, probably to make a point about the ridiculousness of expecting perfection.

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WePapers. 2021. "Good Exploring Hawthorne Literature Review Example." Free Essay Examples - Retrieved June 19, 2024. (
"Good Exploring Hawthorne Literature Review Example," Free Essay Examples -, 10-Feb-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 19-Jun-2024].
Good Exploring Hawthorne Literature Review Example. Free Essay Examples - Published Feb 10, 2021. Accessed June 19, 2024.

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