Young Goodman Brown


By Nathaniel Hawthorne

YOUNG GOODMAN BROWN came forth at sunset into the street at Salem village; but put his head back, after crossing the threshold, to exchange a parting kiss with his young wife. And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap while she called to Goodman Brown.

“Dearest heart,” whispered she, softly, and rather sadly, when her lips were close to his ear, “prithee put off your journey until sunrise and sleep in your own bed tonight. A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts that she's afeard of herself sometimes. Pray tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year.”

“My love and my Faith,” replied young Goodman Brown, “of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee. My journey, as thou callest it, forth and back again, must needs be done 'twixt now and sunrise. What, my sweet, pretty wife, dost thou doubt me already, and we but three months married?”

“Then God bless you!” said Faith, with the pink ribbons; “And may you find all well when you come back.”

“Amen!” cried Goodman Brown. “Say thy prayers, dear Faith, and go to bed at dusk, and no harm will come to thee.”

So they parted; and the young man pursued his way until, being about to turn the corner by the meeting-house, he looked back and saw the head of Faith still peeping after him with a melancholy air, in spite of her pink ribbons.

“Poor little Faith!” thought he, for his heart smote him. “What a wretch am I to leave her on such an errand! She talks of dreams, too. Methought as she spoke there was trouble in her face, as if a dream had warned her what work is to be done tonight. But no, no; 'twould kill her to think it. Well, she's a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night I'll cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven.”

With this excellent resolve for the future, Goodman Brown felt himself justified in making more haste on his present evil purpose. 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. 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; so that with lonely footsteps he may yet be passing through an unseen multitude.

“There may be a devilish Indian behind every tree,” said Goodman Brown to himself; and he glanced fearfully behind him as he added, “What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow!”

His head being turned back, he passed a crook of the road, and, looking forward again, beheld the figure of a man, in grave and decent attire, seated at the foot of an old tree. He arose at Goodman Brown's approach and walked onward side by side with him.

“You are late, Goodman Brown,” said he. “The clock of the Old South was striking as I came through Boston, and that is full fifteen minutes agone.”

“Faith kept me back a while,” replied the young man, with a tremor in his voice, caused by the sudden appearance of his companion, though not wholly unexpected.

It was now deep dusk in the forest, and deepest in that part of it where these two were journeying. As nearly as could be discerned, the second traveler was about fifty years old, apparently in the same rank of life as Goodman Brown, and bearing a considerable resemblance to him, though perhaps more in expression than features. Still they might have been taken for father and son. And yet, though the elder person was as simply clad as the younger, and as simple in manner too, he had an indescribable air of one who knew the world, and who would not have felt abashed at the governor's dinner table or in King William's court, were it possible that his affairs should call him thither. But the only thing about him that could be fixed upon as remarkable was his staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent. This, of course, must have been an ocular deception, assisted by the uncertain light.

“Come, Goodman Brown,” cried his fellow-traveler, “this is a dull pace for the beginning of a journey. Take my staff, if you are so soon weary.”

“Friend,” said the other, exchanging his slow pace for a full stop, “having kept covenant by meeting thee here, it is my purpose now to return whence I came. I have scruples touching the matter thou wot'st of.”

“Sayest thou so?” replied he of the serpent, smiling apart. “Let us walk on, nevertheless, reasoning as we go; and if I convince thee not thou shalt turn back. We are but a little way in the forest yet.”

“Too far! too far!” exclaimed the goodman, unconsciously resuming his walk. “My father never went into the woods on such an errand, nor his father before him. We have been a race of honest men and good Christians since the days of the martyrs; and shall I be the first of the name of Brown that ever took this path and kept—”

“Such company, thou wouldst say,” observed the elder person, interpreting his pause. “Well said, Goodman Brown! I have been as well acquainted with your family as with ever a one among the Puritans; and that's no trifle to say. I helped your grandfather, the constable, when he lashed the Quaker woman so smartly through the streets of Salem; and it was I that brought your father a pitch-pine knot, kindled at my own hearth, to set fire to an Indian village, in King Philip's War. They were my good friends, both; and many a pleasant walk have we had along this path, and returned merrily after midnight. I would fain be friends with you for their sake.”

“If it be as thou sayest,” replied Goodman Brown, “I marvel they never spoke of these matters; or, verily, I marvel not, seeing that the least rumor of the sort would have driven them from New England. We are a people of prayer, and good works to boot, and abide no such wickedness.”

“Wickedness or not,” said the traveler with the twisted staff, “I have a very general acquaintance here in New England. The deacons of many a church have drunk the communion wine with me; the selectmen of divers towns make me their chairman; and a majority of the Great and General Court are firm supporters of my interest. The governor and I, too. But these are state secrets.”

“Can this be so?” cried Goodman Brown, with a stare of amazement at his undisturbed companion. “Howbeit, I have nothing to do with the governor and council; they have their own ways, and are no rule for a simple husbandman like me. But, were I to go on with thee, how should I meet the eye of that good old man, our minister, at Salem village? Oh, his voice would make me tremble both Sabbath day and lecture day.”

Thus far the elder traveler had listened with due gravity; but now burst into a fit of irrepressible mirth, shaking himself so violently that his snakelike staff actually seemed to wriggle in sympathy.

“Ha! ha! ha!” shouted he again and again; then composing himself, “Well, go on, Goodman Brown, go on; but, prithee, don't kill me with laughing.”

“Well, then, to end the matter at once,” said Goodman Brown, considerably nettled, “there is my wife, Faith. It would break her dear little heart; and I'd rather break my own.”

“Nay, if that be the case,” answered the other, “e'en go thy ways, Goodman Brown. I would not for twenty old women like the one hobbling before us that Faith should come to any harm.”

As he spoke he pointed his staff at a female figure on the path, in whom Goodman Brown recognized a very pious and exemplary dame, who had taught him his catechism in youth, and was still his moral and spiritual adviser, jointly with the minister and Deacon Gookin.

“A marvel, truly, that Goody Cloyse should be so far in the wilderness at nightfall,” said he. “But with your leave, friend, I shall take a cut through the woods until we have left this Christian woman behind. Being a stranger to you, she might ask whom I was consorting with and whither I was going.”

“Be it so,” said his fellow-traveler. “Betake you to the woods, and let me keep the path.”

Accordingly the young man turned aside, but took care to watch his companion, who advanced softly along the road until he had come within a staff's length of the old dame. She, meanwhile, was making the best of her way, with singular speed for so aged a woman, and mumbling some indistinct words—a prayer, doubtless—as she went. The traveler put forth his staff and touched her withered neck with what seemed the serpent's tail.

“The devil!” screamed the pious old lady.

“Then Goody Cloyse knows her old friend?” observed the traveler, confronting her and leaning on his writhing stick.

“Ah, forsooth, and is it Your Worship indeed?” cried the good dame. “Yea, truly is it, and in the very image of my old gossip, Goodman Brown, the grandfather of the silly fellow that now is. But—would Your Worship believe it?—my broomstick hath strangely disappeared, stolen, as I suspect, by that unhanged witch, Goody Cory, and that, too, when I was all anointed with the juice of smallage, and cinquefoil, and wolf's bane.”

“Mingled with fine wheat and the fat of a new-born babe,” said the shape of old Goodman Brown.

“Ah, Your Worship knows the recipe,” cried the old lady, cackling aloud. “So, as I was saying, being all ready for the meeting, and no horse to ride on, I made up my mind to foot it; for they tell me there is a nice young man to be taken into communion tonight. But now Your Good Worship will lend me your arm, and we shall be there in a twinkling.”

“That can hardly be,” answered her friend. “I may not spare you my arm, Goody Cloyse; but here is my staff, if you will.”

So saying, he threw it down at her feet, where, perhaps, it assumed life, being one of the rods which its owner had formerly lent to the Egyptian magi. Of this fact, however, Goodman Brown could not take cognizance. He had cast up his eyes in astonishment, and, looking down again, beheld neither Goody Cloyse nor the serpentine staff, but his fellow-traveler alone, who waited for him as calmly as if nothing had happened.

“That old woman taught me my catechism,” said the young man; and there was a world of meaning in this simple comment.

They continued to walk onward, while the elder traveler exhorted his companion to make good speed and persevere in the path, discoursing so aptly that his arguments seemed rather to spring up in the bosom of his auditor than to be suggested by himself. As they went, he plucked a branch of maple to serve for a walking stick, and began to strip it of the twigs and little boughs, which were wet with evening dew. The moment his fingers touched them they became strangely withered and dried up as with a week's sunshine. Thus the pair proceeded, at a good free pace, until suddenly, in a gloomy hollow of the road, Goodman Brown sat himself down on the stump of a tree and refused to go any farther.

“Friend,” said he, stubbornly, “my mind is made up. Not another step will I budge on this errand. What if a wretched old woman do choose to go to the devil when I thought she was going to heaven: is that any reason why I should quit my dear Faith and go after her?”

“You will think better of this by and by,” said his acquaintance, composedly. “Sit here and rest yourself a while; and when you feel like moving again, there is my staff to help you along.”

Without more words, he threw his companion the maple stick, and was as speedily out of sight as if he had vanished into the deepening gloom. The young man sat a few moments by the roadside, applauding himself greatly, and thinking with how clear a conscience he should meet the minister in his morning walk, nor shrink from the eye of good old Deacon Gookin. And what calm sleep would be his that very night, which was to have been spent so wickedly, but so purely and sweetly now, in the arms of Faith! Amidst these pleasant and praiseworthy meditations, Goodman Brown heard the tramp of horses along the road, and deemed it advisable to conceal himself within the verge of the forest, conscious of the guilty purpose that had brought him thither, though now so happily turned from it.

On came the hoof tramps and the voices of the riders, two grave old voices, conversing soberly as they drew near. These mingled sounds appeared to pass along the road, within a few yards of the young man's hiding-place; but, owing doubtless to the depth of the gloom at that particular spot, neither the travelers nor their steeds were visible. Though their figures brushed the small boughs by the wayside, it could not be seen that they intercepted, even for a moment, the faint gleam from the strip of bright sky athwart which they must have passed. Goodman Brown alternately crouched and stood on tiptoe, pulling aside the branches and thrusting forth his head as far as he durst without discerning so much as a shadow. It vexed him the more, because he could have sworn, were such a thing possible, that he recognized the voices of the minister and Deacon Gookin, jogging along quietly, as they were wont to do, when bound to some ordination or ecclesiastical council. While yet within hearing, one of the riders stopped to pluck a switch.

“Of the two, Reverend Sir,” said the voice like the deacon's, “I had rather miss an ordination dinner than tonight's meeting. They tell me that some of our community are to be here from Falmouth and beyond, and others from Connecticut and Rhode Island, besides several of the Indian powwows, who, after their fashion, know almost as much deviltry as the best of us. Moreover, there is a goodly young woman to be taken into communion.”

“Mighty well, Deacon Gookin!” replied the solemn old tones of the minister. “Spur up, or we shall be late. Nothing can be done, you know, until I get on the ground.”

The hoofs clattered again; and the voices, talking so strangely in the empty air, passed on through the forest, where no church had ever been gathered or solitary Christian prayed. Whither, then, could these holy men be journeying so deep into the heathen wilderness? Young Goodman Brown caught hold of a tree for support, being ready to sink down on the ground, faint and overburdened with the heavy sickness of his heart. He looked up to the sky, doubting whether there really was a heaven above him. Yet there was the blue arch, and the stars brightening in it.

“With heaven above and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil!” cried Goodman Brown.

While he still gazed upward into the deep arch of the firmament and had lifted his hands to pray, a cloud, though no wind was stirring, hurried across the zenith and hid the brightening stars. The blue sky was still visible, except directly overhead, where this black mass of cloud was sweeping swiftly northward. Aloft in the air, as if from the depths of the cloud, came a confused and doubtful sound of voices. Once the listener fancied that he could distinguish the accents of towns-people of his own, men and women, both pious and ungodly, many of whom he had met at the communion table, and had seen others rioting at the tavern. The next moment, so indistinct were the sounds, he doubted whether he had heard aught but the murmur of the old forest, whispering without a wind. Then came a stronger swell of those familiar tones, heard daily in the sunshine at Salem village, but never until now from a cloud of night There was one voice of a young woman, uttering lamentations, yet with an uncertain sorrow, and entreating for some favor, which, perhaps, it would grieve her to obtain; and all the unseen multitude, both saints and sinners, seemed to encourage her onward.

“Faith!” shouted Goodman Brown, in a voice of agony and desperation; and the echoes of the forest mocked him, crying, “Faith! Faith!” as if bewildered wretches were seeking her all through the wilderness.

The cry of grief, rage, and terror was yet piercing the night, when the unhappy husband held his breath for a response. There was a scream, drowned immediately in a louder murmur of voices, fading into far-off laughter, as the dark cloud swept away, leaving the clear and silent sky above Goodman Brown. But something fluttered lightly down through the air and caught on the branch of a tree. The young man seized it, and beheld a pink ribbon.

“My Faith is gone!” cried he, after one stupefied moment. “There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, Devil; for to thee is this world given.”

And, maddened with despair, so that he laughed loud and long, did Goodman Brown grasp his staff and set forth again, at such a rate that he seemed to fly along the forest path rather than to walk or run. The road grew wilder and drearier and more faintly traced, and vanished at length, leaving him in the heart of the dark wilderness, still rushing onward with the instinct that guides mortal man to evil. The whole forest was peopled with frightful sounds—the creaking of the trees, the howling of wild beasts, and the yell of Indians; while sometimes the wind tolled like a distant church bell, and sometimes gave a broad roar around the traveler, as if all Nature were laughing him to scorn. But he was himself the chief horror of the scene, and shrank not from its other horrors.

“Ha! ha! ha!” roared Goodman Brown when the wind laughed at him.

“Let us hear which will laugh loudest. Think not to frighten me with your deviltry. Come witch, come wizard, come Indian powwow, come devil himself, and here comes Goodman Brown. You may as well fear him as he fear you.”

In truth, all through the haunted forest there could be nothing more frightful than the figure of Goodman Brown. On he flew among the black pines, brandishing his staff with frenzied gestures, now giving vent to an inspiration of horrid blasphemy, and now shouting forth such laughter as set all the echoes of the forest laughing like demons around him. The fiend in his own shape is less hideous than when he rages in the breast of man. Thus sped the demoniac on his course, until, quivering among the trees, he saw a red light before him, as when the felled trunks and branches of a clearing have been set on fire, and throw up their lurid blaze against the sky, at the hour of midnight. He paused, in a lull of the tempest that had driven him onward, and heard the swell of what seemed a hymn, rolling solemnly from a distance with the weight of many voices. He knew the tune; it was a familiar one in the choir of the village meeting-house. The verse died heavily away, and was lengthened by a chorus, not of human voices, but of all the sounds of the benighted wilderness pealing in awful harmony together.

Goodman Brown cried out, and his cry was lost to his own ear by its unison with the cry of the desert.

In the interval of silence he stole forward until the light glared full upon his eyes. At one extremity of an open space, hemmed in by the dark wall of the forest, arose a rock, bearing some rude, natural resemblance either to an altar or a pulpit, and surrounded by four blazing pines, their tops aflame, their stems untouched, like candles at an evening meeting. The mass of foliage that had overgrown the summit of the rock was all on fire, blazing high into the night and fitfully illuminating the whole field. Each pendent twig and leafy festoon was in a blaze. As the red light arose and fell, a numerous congregation alternately shone forth, then disappeared in shadow, and again grew, as it were, out of the darkness, peopling the heart of the solitary woods at once.

“A grave and dark-clad company,” quoth Goodman Brown.

In truth they were such. Among them, quivering to and fro between gloom and splendor, appeared faces that would be seen next day at the council board of the province, and others which, Sabbath after Sabbath, looked devoutly heavenward, and benignantly over the crowded pews, from the holiest pulpits in the land. Some affirm that the lady of the governor was there. At least there were high dames well known to her, and wives of honored husbands, and widows, a great multitude, and ancient maidens, all of excellent repute, and fair young girls, who trembled lest their mothers should espy them. Either the sudden gleams of light flashing over the obscure field bedazzled Goodman Brown, or he recognized a score of the church members of Salem village famous for their especial sanctity. Good old Deacon Gookin had arrived, and waited at the skirts of that venerable saint, his revered pastor. But, irreverently consorting with these grave, reputable, and pious people, these elders of the church, these chaste dames and dewy virgins, there were men of dissolute lives and women of spotted fame, wretches given over to all mean and filthy vice, and suspected even of horrid crimes. It was strange to see that the good shrank not from the wicked, nor were the sinners abashed by the saints. Scattered also among their pale-faced enemies were the Indian priests, or powwows, who had often scared their native forest with more hideous incantations than any known to English witchcraft.

“But where is Faith?” thought Goodman Brown; and, as hope came into his heart, he trembled.

Another verse of the hymn arose, a slow and mournful strain, such as the pious love, but joined to words which expressed all that our nature can conceive of sin, and darkly hinted at far more. Unfathomable to mere mortals is the lore of fiends. Verse after verse was sung; and still the chorus of the desert swelled between like the deepest tone of a mighty organ; and with the final peal of that dreadful anthem there came a sound, as if the roaring wind, the rushing streams, the howling beasts, and every other voice of the unconcerted wilderness were mingling and according with the voice of guilty man in homage to the prince of all. The four blazing pines threw up a loftier flame, and obscurely discovered shapes and visages of horror on the smoke wreaths above the impious assembly. At the same moment the fire on the rock shot redly forth and formed a glowing arch above its base, where now appeared a figure. With reverence be it spoken, the figure bore no slight similitude, both in garb and manner, to some grave divine of the New England churches.

“Bring forth the converts!” cried a voice that echoed through the field and rolled into the forest.

At the word, Goodman Brown stepped forth from the shadow of the trees and approached the congregation, with whom he felt a loathful brotherhood by the sympathy of all that was wicked in his heart. He could have well-nigh sworn that the shape of his own dead father beckoned him to advance, looking downward from a smoke wreath, while a woman, with dim features of despair, threw out her hand to warn him back. Was it his mother? But he had no power to retreat one step, nor to resist, even in thought, when the minister and good old Deacon Gookin seized his arms and led him to the blazing rock. Thither came also the slender form of a veiled female, led between Goody Cloyse, that pious teacher of the catechism, and Martha Carrier, who had received the devil's promise to be queen of hell. A rampant hag was she. And there stood the proselytes beneath the canopy of fire.

“Welcome, my children,” said the dark figure, “to the communion of your race. Ye have found thus young your nature and your destiny. My children, look behind you!”

They turned; and flashing forth, as it were, in a sheet of flame, the fiend worshippers were seen; the smile of welcome gleamed darkly on every visage.

“There,” resumed the sable form, “are all whom ye have reverenced from youth. Ye deemed them holier than yourselves, and shrank from your own sin, contrasting it with their lives of righteousness and prayerful aspirations heavenward. Yet here are they all in my worshipping assembly. This night it shall be granted you to know their secret deeds: how hoary-bearded elders of the church have whispered wanton words to the young maids of their households; how many a woman, eager for widows' weeds, has given her husband a drink at bedtime and let him sleep his last sleep in her bosom; how beardless youths have made haste to inherit their fathers' wealth; and how fair damsels—blush not, sweet ones—have dug little graves in the garden, and bidden me, the sole guest to an infant's funeral. By the sympathy of your human hearts for sin ye shall scent out all the places—whether in church, bedchamber, street, field, or forest—where crime has been committed, and shall exult to behold the whole earth one stain of guilt, one mighty blood spot. Far more than this. It shall be yours to penetrate, in every bosom, the deep mystery of sin, the fountain of all wicked arts, and which inexhaustibly supplies more evil impulses than human power—than my power at its utmost—can make manifest in deeds. And now, my children, look upon each other.”

They did so; and, by the blaze of the hell-kindled torches, the wretched man beheld his Faith, and the wife her husband, trembling before that unhallowed altar.

“Lo, there ye stand, my children,” said the figure, in a deep and solemn tone, almost sad with its despairing awfulness, as if his once angelic nature could yet mourn for our miserable race. “Depending upon one another's hearts, ye had still hoped that virtue were not all a dream. Now are ye undeceived. Evil is the nature of mankind. Evil must be your only happiness. Welcome again, my children, to the communion of your race.”

“Welcome,” repeated the fiend worshippers, in one cry of despair and triumph.

And there they stood, the only pair, as it seemed, who were yet hesitating on the verge of wickedness in this dark world. A basin was hollowed, naturally, in the rock. Did it contain water, reddened by the lurid light? or was it blood? or, perchance, a liquid flame? Herein did the shape of evil dip his hand and prepare to lay the mark of baptism upon their foreheads, that they might be partakers of the mystery of sin, more conscious of the secret guilt of others, both in deed and thought, than they could now be of their own. The husband cast one look at his pale wife, and Faith at him. What polluted wretches would the next glance show them to each other, shuddering alike at what they disclosed and what they saw!

“Faith! Faith!” cried the husband; “look up to heaven, and resist the wicked one.”

Whether Faith obeyed he knew not. Hardly had he spoken when he found himself amid calm night and solitude, listening to a roar of the wind which died heavily away through the forest. He staggered against the rock, and felt it chill and damp; while a hanging twig, that had been all on fire, besprinkled his cheek with the coldest dew.

The next morning young Goodman Brown came slowly into the street of Salem village, staring around him like a bewildered man. The good old minister was taking a walk along the graveyard to get an appetite for breakfast and meditate his sermon, and bestowed a blessing, as he passed, on Goodman Brown. He shrank from the venerable saint as if to avoid an anathema. Old Deacon Gookin was at domestic worship, and the holy words of his prayer were heard through the open window. “What God doth the wizard pray to?” quoth Goodman Brown. Goody Cloyse, that excellent old Christian, stood in the early sunshine at her own lattice, catechizing a little girl who had brought her a pint of morning's milk. Goodman Brown snatched away the child as from the grasp of the fiend himself. Turning the corner by the meeting-house, he spied the head of Faith, with the pink ribbons, gazing anxiously forth, and bursting into such joy at sight of him that she skipped along the street and almost kissed her husband before the whole village. But Goodman Brown looked sternly and sadly into her face, and passed on without a greeting.

Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting?

Be it so if you will; but, alas! It was a dream of evil omen for young Goodman Brown. A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man did he become from the night of that fearful dream. On the Sabbath day, when the congregation were singing a holy Psalm, he could not listen because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear and drowned all the blessed strain. When the minister spoke from the pulpit with power and fervid eloquence, and, with his hand on the open Bible, of the sacred truths of our religion, and of saint-like lives and triumphant deaths, and of future bliss or misery unutterable, then did Goodman Brown turn pale, dreading lest the roof should thunder down upon the gray blasphemer and his hearers. Often, waking suddenly at midnight, he shrank from the bosom of Faith; and at morning or eventide, when the family knelt down at prayer, he scowled and muttered to himself, and gazed sternly at his wife, and turned away. And when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave a hoary corpse, followed by Faith, an aged woman, and children and grandchildren, a goodly procession, besides neighbors not a few, they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom.


Footnotes

  1. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” does not end on an uplifting note. Since he never spoke to Faith about his time in the forest, Goodman Brown has failed to recover and learn from his experience. This perpetuates the hypocritical and harmful traditions of Puritanism that led to his fall in the first place. These final words suggest that Goodman Brown’s “goodly” children and grandchildren will all suffer the same fate. This serves as a capstone on the theme of hypocrisy in the tale: those who cannot honestly look at and reflect on their own behaviors or speak realistically about temptation and sin will not be able to find inner peace and happiness.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. Readers may have wondered if Goodman Brown’s experience was simply a dream. However, even sinful dreams and thoughts count as sinful behavior in Puritanism. This means that Goodman Brown, in order to maintain appearances, cannot discuss this event with anyone because doing so could result in his being exiled from the community. He is therefore forced to live out his life in hypocrisy, infected by the knowledge that whether he sinned or dreamed he sinned, he suffers the same end—making his story a truly tragic one.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. Goodman Brown may have left the devil and the forest, but he has been infected with a cynical, miserly outlook on his peers and his community. Faith’s actions in this passage suggest that either she isn’t bothered by the encounter in the woods, that she didn’t know about it, or that she wasn’t actually there—which raises the question of what Goodman Brown actually experienced and saw. Regardless, Goodman Brown does not speak of his time in the forest to his wife. By not openly discussing these events, he continues the cycle of unspoken Puritanical repression that his family has passed on to him, leaving him alone and without support.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. Goodman Brown finally finds the strength to try and resist the devil when he sees Faith standing by the evil figure. However, Hawthorne’s word choice reveals this to be a hollow action. Instead of writing “cried Goodman Brown,” Hawthorne uses “the husband.” This separates Goodman Brown’s individuality from his position, suggesting that by begging Faith to “resist the wicked one,” Brown is merely acting out a perfunctory role as husband. This suggests that Goodman Brown’s time in the forest has upended his faith and cast a dark shadow over how he views his role in society.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  5. Since the Puritan faith provides a binary worldview in which things are either good or evil with no middle ground, the devil uses this to his advantage. He claims that “Evil is the nature of mankind.” Notice though how he also criticizes Puritanism’s focus on appearances and external representations of faith. He states that since the Puritans “depend[ed] upon one another’s hearts,” they were unable to learn how to create a personal relationship with their morality that could give them the strength to understand that someone may commit sinful acts but not be entirely evil.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  6. Having placed so much of his faith in his wife, the climax of the story begins when Goodman Brown confronts his greatest fear: that his Faith (in both senses of the word) is corrupt. Also of note here is the atmosphere: Goodman Brown sees his Faith through the light of “hell-kindled torches.” This suggests that the light is not only evil but also supernatural. What Goodman Brown actually sees, therefore, may not necessarily be accurate. Instead of seeing a nuanced, complicated person capable of a mixture of good and evil, Brown can only see through his binary Puritan lens, which casts everything that is not completely righteous in a hellish light.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  7. Based on context, the expression “widows’ weeds” likely refers to the mourning clothes worn after the death of a woman’s husband. The devil continues to emphasize how many people have performed sinful deeds when not in the public eye.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  8. The devil’s words in this passage serve as a direct statement about the hypocritical nature of the Puritan faith. To paraphrase, he points out that what people claim to be true is not actually the case and that those who appear good and righteous are actually living in sin. The visual display of the congregation gives the devil an opportunity to reveal to Goodman Brown the hypocrisy of his Puritan community. Since Brown’s faith has been modeled on the behavior of others, rather than his own convictions, this provides the devil an easy challenge to Goodman Brown’s worldview.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  9. Martha Ingalls Carrier was one of the first women named as a witch by the Salem Girls during the 1692 Salem witch trials.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  10. Since Goodman Brown’s notions of faith and morality come from external sources, he is paralyzed in this moment of confusion. For him, being moral means preserving the reputation and appearances of his family. However, the images of his father and mother give him conflicting commands regarding his path forward. Even though he no longer believes his family are moral people, he cannot bring himself to disown his family heritage in order to make his own choices. Since he cannot make his own choices, he is doomed to repeat the same mistakes, continuing a tradition of harmful hypocrisy.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  11. The noun “convert” is generally used as a religious term for someone who accepts a new faith. Here, the meaning is twisted as the converts are not accepting Christianity; they are turning to the devil.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  12. Since Hawthorne has revealed the forest to be a place full of sin, the presence of a “congregation” in the “heart of the solitary woods” reveals the pervasiveness of evil. A “congregation” typically refers to a group of people who gather for a church service, giving this word religious and moral connotations. While Puritan congregations try to cleave away their evil tendencies by appearing good to one another, this congregation in the dark woods further supports the idea that evil is an indelible part of human nature that will always find its place.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  13. Although Goodman Brown has just claimed that he should be feared as a sinful being, Hawthorne’s statement here suggests something more about the nature of good and evil: an external and internal nature. Goodman Brown considers evil as a supernatural, external idea found in the work of witches and devils. However, Hawthorne makes a point here that the more terrible “fiend” is the one that rages inside of us—a natural, human capacity for wickedness.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  14. Since Goodman Brown’s Puritan faith conveys a world of good versus evil without room for nuance or error, he decides to embrace evil after he realizes that he is a sinner. He cries out this famous quote to the wind, indicating that sin no longer strikes fear in him as it once did. Because he is a sinner, he figures he ought to be just as feared as other evil things. However, this extreme reaction suggests that he hasn’t learned how to cope with sin. He still functions through a Puritan lens of the world, which says that if he sins at all, then he is condemned to hell.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  15. Hawthorne has used the forest as a symbol for sin throughout “Young Goodman Brown.” Here, by saying that the road has grown “wilder and drearier,” Hawthorne conveys a lack of order, or a promotion of discord. That the road falls into disarray and eventually vanishes completely reflects what has happened to Goodman Brown’s faith. Where once the road could take him safely back to Salem, now he has no clear path forward: Goodman Brown is a sinner.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  16. When Goodman Brown claims that “There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name,” this statement supports how extreme his beliefs are. For him, the world consists of black and white, good and evil. Since his Faith (and his faith) are “gone,” he states that the world is inherently evil and that sin is the natural state of things. From a non-Puritan perspective, this logic makes little sense, but given the repressed nature of his society, Goodman Brown has no experience dealing with nuance nor understanding his own personal relationship between good and sinful behavior.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  17. Earlier, Goodman Brown resisted the devil by believing that Faith is still pure and moral. Here, having lost his faith in his wife Faith, he has also lost faith in the world and in his own sense of morality. By claiming that his “Faith is gone,” he emphasizes the relationship between his wife and his Puritan faith. Goodman Brown’s beliefs rely on appearances and the behavior of his peers, creating an extreme ideology that doesn’t allow for nuance.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  18. This is another example of Goodman Brown deciding to “conceal himself” from the eyes of others, a result of the Puritanical drive to appear good and to prevent the spread of rumors and suspicion. He thinks that if he can avoid being seen in the forest, then he can return to Salem and live a virtuous life. However, he fails to consider that walking into the forest and speaking with the devil could harm his soul. Another point here is to recall how Goodman Brown saw the forest when he first entered it:

    not who may be concealed by the innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overhead; so that with lonely footsteps he may yet be passing through an unseen multitude.

    Now, readers see the hypocrisy in this statement as Goodman Brown himself lurks among the evils of the forest, ignorant of his own behavior.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  19. The verb “to spur up” means to increase speed. It comes from the practice of using spurs to prick a horse in order to make it go faster.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  20. The noun “powwow” is rooted in North American Indian culture and tradition. It can refer to a religious or magical ceremony. It also can refer to a council or conference of Native Americans. Regardless of the nature of the meeting, the Puritans viewed powwows as a kind of non-Christian, or pagan, behavior.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  21. In a religious context, the noun “ordination” refers to the ceremony in which an individual takes vows to become a preacher or priest.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  22. While the devil has revealed all the hypocrisy of Goodman Brown’s family, community, and his own ideas, Goodman Brown maintains a trust that his wife, Faith, is free of evil. It is this trust that keeps him from falling into sin. However, he still looks to another person rather than to his God or personal convictions. His actions reflect the Puritan tendency to seek external ideas of faith, particularly in the appearance of goodness, rather than pursuing personal, virtuous relationships between the self and a higher power.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  23. This is an allusion to the biblical book of Exodus, in which sorcerers in the Egyptian Pharaoh's court turned their staves into serpents to intimidate Moses. Moses and his brother Aaron also had staves capable of magic, but that power was believed to have come from God rather than the devil.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  24. The noun “twinkling” means the time required for a wink—which is instantaneous for the purposes of this expression. Another similar expression is to say “be there in a flash.” The idea that witches could travel in supernatural ways was a popular superstition among the Puritans.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  25. Since witches and sorcerers were associated with evil behavior, Hawthorne includes this detail. Witches were commonly believed to kill infants and young children for their fat, a prized ingredient. This belief is one of the reasons why many people suspected caregivers of witchcraft. Because the infant mortality rate was high and disease was not well understood, many believed evil forces conspired against their children.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  26. The list of items here are all associated with sorcery and witchcraft: “smallage” and “cinquefoil” are herbs, and wolf's bane is toxic if consumed, making it a kind of poison.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  27. The name “Cory” is a possible reference to Martha Corey, who was one of the women accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. She was a respectable community member who was eventually hanged for witchcraft, despite Hawthorne’s saying that she is “unhanged.” Martha Corey’s story is also told in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  28. Goodman Brown’s statement here shows how much value Puritans placed on appearances. Since he thinks this woman is a good Christian, he wants to avoid her seeing him with a stranger. This avoidance gives us insight into Goodman Brown and the Puritan faith: he’s more scared about being seen with a sinner by a member of his community than he is about actually walking in the forest and talking with the devil, that latter of which could affect the condition of his soul. Goodman Brown sees his own good behavior only through the eyes of others. Notice how this self-deception is also deepened by his immediate assumption that this respectable-looking woman is a good Christian.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  29. The title of “deacon” refers to a minister or officer in the Christian church. Typically deacons perform administrative functions at the church and distribute the elements at communion during the Sabbath.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  30. The name “Goody” is a shortened form for Goodwife and is used as a title before a woman’s last name. In the case of Goodman, it is the masculine form of Goodwife. These titles are archaic forms now often replaced with “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” or “Ms.”

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  31. A “catechism” refers to a series of set religious questions and answers based around a book of instruction in the principles of the Christian faith. Puritans like Goodman Brown would have learned a series of questions and answers to to confirm their faith and then use during church services.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  32. The devil’s purpose in telling Goodman Brown all of these “state secrets” is to emphasize the depths of his influence in Goodman Brown’s world. Since Goodman Brown considers certain people and places completely free of sin, the devil makes these claims to undermine his faith. However, the devil’s claims serve another purpose. The devil makes it clear that nothing is free of sinful influence or the potential for it. The Puritan worldview cannot accept such things, which forces them to hypocritically believe themselves and their institutions free from this influence. By maintaining a worldview that is cut and dry, there is no room for moral ambiguity and even less for forgiveness and tolerance.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  33. Since the Puritans were Christian, the “Sabbath” refers to Sunday, a day of rest observed by Christians in prayer and service. The “lecture day” here possibly refers to a mid-week church meeting.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  34. This is an early name for the state legislature of Massachusetts. Now known as the Massachusetts General Court, the name Great and General Court was used until 1780 when the state of Massachusetts adopted a new constitution.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  35. At Christian masses or services, one of the acts that believers participate in is called “communion,” a custom which emphasizes the personal sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his relationship to Christians. Wine is the drink often used to symbolize the significance of Christ's death on the cross, although some denominations use grape juice or non-alcoholic substitutes.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  36. Goodman Brown’s surprise that his family “never spoke of these matters” reveals an issue with the repressive nature of his faith. Because the Puritans judged one’s moral character on one’s outward appearance, to talk about morally ambiguous issues or individual failings was taboo. So, Goodman Brown has no experiences with moral nuance to draw on in this situation, forcing him to continue deluding himself by applying his all-too simplistic logic.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  37. New England in the 17th century saw one of the deadliest conflicts between the Native American tribes of the area and the Dutch and English colonists. King Philip was the adopted English name of Metacomb (or Metacomet), a Wampanoag chief, whose father enjoyed friendly relations with the Mayflower Pilgrims. However, the continued influx of colonists and treaties created tensions between the groups, resulting in war. The devil delights in telling Goodman Brown how he helped Brown’s father participate in this conflict.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  38. A “knot” is usually a combining of parts of one or more ropes, strips of cloth, or anything flexible enough to bind. The compound adjective “pitch-pine” refers to the “pitch,” or sap, from a “pine,” a type of evergreen tree. A pitch-pine knot then is likely highly flammable, and such a thing could be thrown into a village and cause a fire—exactly like what the devil says Goodman Brown’s father did.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  39. A Quaker is a member of a religious movement founded by Christian preacher George Fox in the mid 17th century. This group emphasizes a direct relationship between the individual and the divine. Notably, Quakers were not viewed fondly by the Puritans in North America and were subjects of persecution. That the devil delights in the Puritans’ persecution of Quakers is also shown in Washington Irving’s “The Devil and Tom Walker,” in which the devil says that he amuses himself by watching the persecution of the Quakers and Anabaptists.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  40. Puritans are a branch of English Protestants from the late 16th and 17th centuries who removed themselves from the Anglican Church of England, stating that the reformation under Elizabeth I was incomplete. Some sailed west across the Pacific ocean, including the Puritans who landed at Plymouth Rock and settled both Boston and Plymouth. Their Christian beliefs were notoriously strict; for example, Puritans believed that thinking about a sinful or evil action had the same effect on the soul as actually committing the action.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  41. Notice how the examples the devil chooses to share with Goodman Brown are particularly human. That is, crime and punishment as well as war are considered pervasive aspects of humanity. In a way, this normalizes the devil for Goodman Brown, as Puritans consider the devil to be a supernatural evil in order to make the difference between goodness and sin as clear as possible. Religion often justified such aspects of humanity as war and religious persecution, but that justification does not make them less evil—something the devil makes clear here by claiming his influence on those events.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  42. This man, identified as the devil, seeks to manipulate Goodman Brown by claiming he knows Brown’s family well. If Goodman Brown believes that his family have always been good Puritans, then the revelation that they have all made deals with the devil undermines what Goodman Brown has thought to be true much of his life. Since Goodman Brown looks to others for spiritual guidance rather than evaluate behavior for himself, this manipulation begins to work, corrupting his prior certainties.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  43. The serpent staff alludes to the biblical story of the Garden of Eden. This tale helps inform readers as to the man’s purpose. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lived in a natural paradise. However, the devil, in the form of a serpent, tempted them with knowledge, eventually coaxing them into sin. The man and his staff not only draw a connection between Goodman Brown’s temptation and that of Adam and Eve but also blend evil with nature. The complexity of this association encourages readers to consider how the human capacity for sin and evil take root in the natural world.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  44. Readers ought to pause and consider the nature of this man. He may be plainly dressed, but the presence of a staff that looks like a large, black snake helps reveal his true nature. Snakes are associated with evil in the Christian biblical tradition, as the devil presents himself to Adam and Eve in the form of a serpent in the book of Genesis. The man’s clothes may allow him to pass as a member of a Puritan community, but the staff reveals him for who he really is: the devil.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  45. The noun “covenant” refers to an agreement, in particular one that is solemn and binding. The word has been historically associated with making a covenant with God to be a Christian. Because Goodman Brown had previously vowed to journey into the woods to meet the devil, his covenant is an inversion of his Puritan faith.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  46. This is a reference to William III, also known as William of Orange, who ruled as king of England from 1689–1702, the time in which “Young Goodman Brown” is set.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  47. Goodman Brown’s reply here strongly supports the idea that Hawthorne intended Faith’s name to serve a double meaning. When Goodman Brown says that Faith “kept [him] back awhile,” he means that his wife literally made him late and also that his Puritan faith caused him to doubt his decision to enter and continue journeying into the woods.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  48. Thus far, the woods are depicted as dangerous and scary as Goodman Brown ventures further into a place that he believes to be sinful. However, this man, whose nature will shortly be revealed, claims that he has recently come through Boston. Given his nature, this statement suggests that evil and sin are not limited to the wilderness but can also exist in settled communities, foreshadowing one of the lessons Goodman Brown will learn before the end of the tale.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  49. Goodman Brown’s attitude toward Native Americans represents that of most Puritans at the time, who believed that the Native American tribes, since they weren’t Christian, were the children of Satan, or the devil. At the very least, the Puritans regarded the Native Americans as pagans.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  50. The “peculiarity in such solitude” and the lack of visibility characterize the forest as a dark and unsafe place, where 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, as readers wonder why Goodman Brown has entered this dark forest.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  51. Goodman Brown’s claim that Faith is so incapable of even thinking sinful thoughts that it would kill her reveals his worldview to be black and white, that people are either saints or sinners without any middle ground. However, he fails to look at his own actions. He thinks that he can endure one night of sin and then return to Salem and be good and faithful for the rest of his life. This lack of self-awareness creates conflict within Goodman Brown which will prove disastrous for him later in the story.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  52. Goodman Brown briefly considers the idea that Faith could know about his purpose for journeying into the woods, but he quickly dismisses the notion, stating that she is simply too good and pure to suspect him of any kind of evil intent. However, the repetition in “no, no” shows a small amount of suspicion on Goodman Brown’s part, as if he has to persuade himself that Faith couldn’t think such things. This is the first indication of the suspicion he has for his Puritan community and faith.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  53. Faith’s claim that she is “troubled with such dreams and such thoughts” is significant. For Puritans, one’s thoughts and dreams pose a real danger to one’s spiritual well-being because sin is not limited to physical actions. This claim suggests that Faith herself is not as innocent and pure as Goodman Brown believes her to be.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  54. Hawthorne establishes the moral conflict at the beginning of the story: Goodman Brown can stay with his wife Faith, as she pleads for him to do, or he can journey into the woods. This conflict is especially notable because of his wife’s name: Goodman Brown has a conflict with “Faith,” which literally refers to his wife but can also serve as a symbol of his religious faith. By establishing this conflict early, Hawthorne shows readers that there are moral stakes to Goodman Brown’s journey: he appears to be choosing to leave his wife and his faith by staying in Salem.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  55. An allusion to his earlier statement about "clinging to Faith's skirts" to lead him to heaven. The male figure beckons him forward, the female figure warns him to stay back.

    — Kate R
  56. Possible foreshadowing of what Goodman Brown is walking to right now.

    — Kate R
  57. Her description, the fact that she is muttering a "prayer," and the mention of a broom are all allusions to the image of a witch.

    — Kate R
  58. The narrator claims that this setting is "lonely," but in the same breath describes not knowing how many people and creatures may be lurking in the shadows, creating a sense of being watched.

    — Kate R
  59. The choice of words here, "dream" specifically, suggests that the rest of the story may follow in a dream-like fashion. The look on her face may foreshadow what is to come.

    — Kate R
  60. The language used here exaggerates the childlike purity that Faith represents.

    — Kate R
  61. There is a possibility that Hawthorne alludes to the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness (the desert), during which time Satan tried to tempt him with earthly power to abandon God.

    — Stephen Holliday
  62. Brown's belief system, Puritanism, has disappeared along with Faith, his wife.  With this cry of desperation, Brown casts aside his doubts and races toward the devil's communion.

    — Stephen Holliday
  63. Hawthorne skilfully injects some doubt in the reader's mind as to whether Brown is hearing his wife, Faith, protest loudly or protest in form only--as if she is not quite sure if what she is doing is an evil thing.

    — Stephen Holliday
  64. Hawthorne makes good use of the limited third-person point-of-view: because he is not omniscient--that is, all seeing, all knowing--he can never be certain about what he sees.  The devil's staff may or may not look like a serpent, and when the devil leaves Brown, it looks "as if" he has vanished, leaving the reader in uncertainty as to what, exactly, is going on in this narrative.

    — Stephen Holliday
  65. Another double entendre (double meaning)--Goodman Brown refers both to Faith, his wife, and his faith, his Puritan belief system.

    — Stephen Holliday
  66. This would have been a serious breach of etiquette in Puritan society, but it does indicate that, whatever has happened to Goodman Brown, Faith has not shared the experience.  

    — Stephen Holliday
  67. One of the casualties of Brown's experience (whether a dream or something else) is Faith.  After Brown returns home, his gloom becomes hers as well.  The ruin of a woman's life by an obsessed man is a theme repeated in several of Hawthorne's short stories and novels--"The Minister's Black Veil;" "The Birthmark;" The Scarlet Letter.

    — Stephen Holliday
  68. A meeting in which church administration or religious matters are discussed

    — Stephen Holliday
  69. Hawthorne is cleverly playing with his readers: Did Goodman Brown experience the events or did he have a horrible dream vision?  Puritans believe that either alternative is possible, but modern readers generally reject the notion that Brown actually experiences these events.  Whether real or a dream, this experience fundamentally changes Brown's life.

    — Stephen Holliday
  70. Brown's attempt to save Faith is a good sign because it indicates his belief that she can still make the decision to reject Satan.  Brown may consider himself to be lost, but his attempt to save Faith signals that a vestige of faith still exists within him.

    — Stephen Holliday
  71. One of the strongest beliefs of the Puritan faith is the innate depravity of mankind--in other words, men (and women) are born with sin (Adam's original sin of eating the apple in Eden) and are inclined to be sinners.  Only God's grace, not their own efforts, will save them from their sin.

    — Stephen Holliday
  72. From a Puritan's perspective, there could be no sin quite as bad as blasphemy.  Goodman Brown's gestures and speech described here indicate that his mind has slipped its mooring.  Just as he has lost his faith, he has lost his mind, a sure sign of Satan's control.

    — Stephen Holliday
  73. Here is a terrible irony: Goodman Brown, after finally losing his faith, becomes the scariest thing in the forest, afraid of nothing and hurrying to join his wife in their new life as devil worshippers.  His loss of faith is complete at this point because the one he trusts the most, Faith, has betrayed his trust.

    — Stephen Holliday
  74. And here is the final destruction of Goodman Brown's world--proof that his faithful wife, Faith, has joined the devil's ranks.

    — Stephen Holliday
  75. This foreshadows the presence of Faith at Satan's convocation in the forest.

    — Stephen Holliday
  76. This is meant to convince Goodman Brown that Satan's followers are not isolated to his village but come from all over New England.  That this speech comes from someone he believes is a strong Puritan is enough to convince Brown that Satan's worshippers are at every level of his society.

    — Stephen Holliday
  77. The scene with Goody Cloyse is very important.  By showing Goody Cloyse to be a witch, Satan is turning Goodman Brown's world upside down.  If Goody Cloyse, who represents to Brown a strong woman of faith, is indeed allied with Satan, what is Brown to think about all the other people he believes are good Puritans?

    — Stephen Holliday
  78. Again, Hawthorne is creating ambiguity by not definitely telling the reader what the staff looks like.  Ambiguity is one of the primary techniques Hawthorne uses to describe Goodman Brown's journey.

    — Stephen Holliday
  79. Goodman Brown is only half right here.  "Good works," from the Puritan perspective, including getting rid of Indians who were in the way of Puritan expansion.

    — Stephen Holliday
  80. This refers to one of the worst atrocities committed by Puritans against Indians.  A group of Puritan men from Massachusetts attacked an Indian village near Mystic, Connecticut, killing men, women, children and animals by burning them to death.  Hawthorne, as a descendant of Puritans, was horrified by their behavior.

    — Stephen Holliday
  81. Throughout this paragraph, Satan explains to Goodman Brown how he assisted Brown's father and grandfather in committing atrocities against Indians and Quakers (a religious sect).  Hawthorne's view of Puritans as cruel and self-righteous is very clear in this passage.

    — Stephen Holliday
  82. A clever use of the limited narrator point of view. Because the narrator is never quite sure of what he observes, the reader is also never sure--perhaps it's a snake, perhaps it's not.  The limited point-of-view creates tension between what is and what might be throughout the story.

    — Stephen Holliday
  83. Hawthorne's way of telling his readers that Goodman Brown and the old man may be related, not just look-a-likes.

    — Stephen Holliday
  84. An example of what literary critics call double entendre, "double meaning," because Goodman Brown is referring both to Faith, his wife, and his own Puritan faith.

    — Stephen Holliday
  85. Goodman Brown should have realized immediately that he is meeting a supernatural being.  Boston is at least a day's hard journey from Salem, but the old man has just told Brown that he was in Boston fifteen minutes ago.

    — Stephen Holliday
  86. Goodman Brown's journey into the forest is all the more puzzling because the forest represents true physical danger.  No Puritan villager, under normal circumstances, would voluntarily enter the forest alone and at night--too many dangers, including Indians, lurked in the forest.

    — Stephen Holliday
  87. This may indicate that Goodman Brown's journey is taking place on All Hallow's Eve (Halloween), a time when the veil between living and dead is thin.  Puritans believe that, of all nights in the year, this is a night during which Satan can be very dangerous.

    — Stephen Holliday
  88. Puritans believed that Satan could attack them in the form of dreams, so when Faith pleads with Brown to stay with her, she is genuinely afraid of what may happen to her while asleep.

    — Stephen Holliday
  89. Faith's ribbons are a symbol of purity that becomes crucial to the unfolding of Goodman Brown's journey into the forest.

    — Stephen Holliday
  90. Located in the state of Massachusetts, the city of Salem gained infamous renown due to its 1692 witchcraft trials during which many people were accused of practicing witchcraft and subsequently executed.

    — Owl Eyes Reader