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Tone in Young Goodman Brown

Tone and Style: In “Young Goodman Brown,” Hawthorne’s narrator takes a measured, serious tone. Even more serious and earnest are the utterances of the Puritans themselves, who speak with an innocence and directness befitting their religious leanings. Hawthorne generally writes in straightforward prose, though at times the language becomes charged with poetic flare and fiery grandeur, swelling into grand, elaborate sentences, as when Goodman Brown becomes spellbound by the Black Mass.

Tone Examples in Young Goodman Brown:

Young Goodman Brown

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"It was all as lonely as could be; and there is this peculiarity in such a solitude, that the traveler knows not who may be concealed by the innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overhead;..."   (Young Goodman Brown)

The “peculiarity in such solitude” and the lack of visibility characterize the forest as a dark and unsafe place. This suggests that a traveller may believe himself alone but actually be watched by an “unseen multitude.” This description creates an oppressive and apprehensive tone in the text and foreshadows the multitude to come.

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