Nathaniel Hawthorne

From "Young Goodman Brown" (1835)

Reprinted in The American Tradition in Literature in 1974 Edited by Sculley Bradley and others oung Goodman Brown," a short story by nineteenth-cen-I tury American fiction writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (see biography entry), was based on the history of his Puritan ancestors and the New England of his own day. Hawthorne documented Puritan hypocrisy in many of his stories (which he called "tales"), such as The Scarlet Letter (1850) and The House of Seven Gables (1851). One of his best-known tales is "Young Goodman Brown"(1835), which tells the story of a young, devout Puritan named Goodman Brown. One evening he leaves his wife, Faith, at home in Salem while he takes a walk in the woods. Disappointed to learn that others have been on the path before him, he happens upon a witches' sabbath, where he is shocked to see his own wife. Sick at heart, he returns to Salem the next morning. He has been changed from a happy and youthful man to a confused and bitter man, who goes to his grave convinced that the world is full of sinners.

The following excerpt is the conclusion of "Young Goodman Brown." It opens just after Brown has seen Faith, and he is still upset and shocked from the experience. He cannot decide whether it was a dream or reality. (Hawthorne fre quently used actual historical figures in his stories; notice that here he mentions Goodie Cloyse, who was Sarah Cloyce, one of the condemned witches in the Salem trials.)

solitude: to be alone meditate: to think about sermon: a religious speech given as part of a worship service bestowed: gave venerable: regarded with respect anathema: the rejection of something because it is believed to be cursed domestic: home-bound

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