Diversity of Hawthorne’s writings in Young Goodman Brown,” “Ethan Brand,” and “The Birthmark.” Michael Duncan ENG.
111 T/TH 9:30 am. It is not a delusion.
There is an Unpardonable Sin!” is a quote by Ethan Brand that is at the root of many stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne’s gloomy, dark style of writing emphasizes his theme of evil at society’s heart. Writing about what he knew, Hawthorne described the Puritan society in different periods of time and defined different characters, all connected through his style. The stories that exemplify the diversity of Hawthorne’s writing are “Young Goodman Brown”, “Ethan Brand”, and “The Birthmark”.
Having read these stories, it is possible to become engrossed in the darkness that is portrayed, and none is better than Young Goodman Brown.” Young Goodman Brown, the character, is first introduced to us in the clearing of Salem village, and we learn that he has faith in the goodness of the village and Faith as his companion. The people we meet in Salem village in the first few paragraphs are just Goodman and Faith. These two characters are essential to understand for their surface or illusional characters. It is soon learned that Goodman Brown is not a good man, and later Faith shows us just as much false character. Goodman and Faith are not the only characters who are not all they seem to be.
We meet more characters in the short story who are as superficial as the village itself. Goodman Brown leaves the bright, warm goodness of his village to make a journey into the woods to meet a stranger. The woods surrounding Salem are a good place to meet a stranger, as described by Nathaniel Hawthorne: He had taken a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through and closed immediately behind.” Like the scheming mind of an evil person, the dark woods lead one down the wrong pathway. The woods are not an allusion as the village was; the woods are exactly what they seem to be. Therefore, the characters met inside the woods will be as shady as the woods themselves. The first character leading Goodman Brown to his despair is the stranger.
The stranger is much older than Goodman, but the two converse easily and understand each other, even though they talk around Goodman’s evil purpose. Hawthorne writes to us about Goodman’s evil through this easy conversation. Although Goodman Brown believes himself to be alone on his journey down the trail, the stranger tells him that it is a beaten path and has been taken by his father. The world built up around Goodman Brown begins to crumble, and with the first blow, he is set up for more devastation in the world of the devil.
Wickedness or not, I have a very general acquaintance here in New England,” the devilish stranger explains. He goes on to describe how even the noblest of people have an evil side, and those who hide it are often the most trusted. Among the characters he knows are companions of Goodman, including Goody Cloyce, the Deacon, other patriots of Salem, and even Goodman’s own wife, Faith, whom he sees worshiping in the woods behind a hazy fire. By telling the story of a devil-worshiping town in Salem, which is already known for its witch scare, Hawthorne tries to convey his belief that all of humanity is capable of evil. Those who believe themselves to be good are not necessarily so, while those who do not believe themselves to be good may actually be better than they seem.
Ethan Brand” is a different sort of story that takes place on the side of a mountain. A man, his son, and a limekiln stoker enter the scene. Hawthorne visualizes Bartram and his son sitting by the kiln. Bartram, the steady worker, burns limestone and talks to his son about Ethan Brand. Ethan Brand is a mystery and represents people who are not understood or who may be outcasts of society. Ethan Brand was a mystery to his townspeople, who left the daily routine of life and discontinued.