Young Goodman Brown
Young Goodman Brown is a short story based in the 17th century. The story starts out with Goodman Brown saying goodbye to his wife, Faith, as he sets off on his journey. Goodman Brown tells his wife that if she says her prays and goes to bed by dusk then no harm will come to her. Goodman Brown’s journey begins down a “dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest”. Goodman Brown thinks there are devilish Indians behind every tree, and the devil himself should be at his elbow.
As Goodman Brown walks down the forest he passes a crook in the road and comes upon a man in decent attire that tells Goodman Brown that he is late. Goodman Brown explains that Faith kept him back a while. Goodman Brown appears to be nervous in the presence of this man as his voice trembles as he speaks with him.
It is now dark in the deep forest as a second traveler makes his presence and tells Goodman Brown to follow him and offers him a walking staff, that will allow them to walk faster. Goodman Brown refuses and tells the traveler "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".
The traveler tells Goodman Brown that he is well acquainted with his family and his father and grandfather were his good friends. Goodman Brown is confused by what the traveler is telling him and wants to return to town and leave the forest. As Goodman Brown is speaking he notices a female traveler on the path, Goody Cloyse, a pious woman, respected from the town.
Upon seeing Goody Cloyse, Goodman Brown still wants to return to Faith. The male traveler tells Goodman Brown to rest a while and gives him his staff for when he feels like getting up. While resting Goodman Brown hears hoof tramps and voices of riders. “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.”
After learning that minister and Deacon are on the same journey as himself, Goodman Brown cries: “with heaven above and faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil.” As Goodman Brown is talking to himself he thinks he hears voices from the ceremony in the forest. He shouts to Faith, as he thinks he hears her. He cries her name over and over but hears no response. Goodman Brown thinks Faith is gone and there no good left on earth. He welcomes the devil and sets forth on his way to the ceremony.
As Goodman Brown reaches the ceremony he recognizes many people, but does not see Faith. He has hope that she is not there. Goodman Brown starts to hallucinate and thinks he sees his father and mother. Goodman Brown shouts to Faith to look up to heaven and resist the devil. Goodman Browns finds himself alone in the forest wondering if he dreamed such a wild dream.
The next morning as Goodman Brown returns home, he passes the minster, Deacon, and Goody Cloyse, whom now seem evil to him. When he gets home he doesn’t greet Faith, but looks at her sternly and sadly and walks right past her. Goodman Brown was never the same. He turned into an old bitter man, who lost his faith. When Goodman Brown lived long and was borne to his grave, no hopeful verse was carved upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom.