Sin And Guilt In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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The Danger of A Walk With the Devil: The Consequence of Sin and Guilt in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” As Canadian author William Paul Young once said, “sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside.” In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown,” Goodman Brown’s life and entire being is demolished by his sins, never to return to what it once was. Through a guilt-filled journey of sin, Goodman Brown struggles with his faith, his grasp on reality, but most importantly, life as he knows it. By losing everything, Young Goodman Brown suffers the ultimate punishment of lifelong pain and suffering. As a consequence of Young Goodman Brown’s decision to walk in sin with the devil, he loses faith in his entire world. …show more content…

During his journey of sin, Young Goodman Brown and the devil come upon Goody Cloyse, Young Goodman Brown's catechism teacher, and, still believing that she is a “pious and exemplary dame” Goodman Brown tries to stay away from the woman by pleading with the devil “I shall take a cut through the woods… being a stranger to you, she might ask whom I was consorting with” (3). Because of Young Goodman Brown’s beliefs of her innocence, it is even more jolting to him when she “knows her old friend,” the devil, and speaks about stolen broomsticks, recipes including “the juice of smallage and cinquefoil and wolf’s-bane,” and even the same devilish meeting that Young Goodman Brown and his accomplice are to attend (3). With signs that all point to sin and witchcraft, Young Goodman Brown’s shock in saying “That old woman taught me my catechism” had “a world of meaning” as he cannot possibly believe that a woman known to be so holy and righteous in the community could be so evil within. As Goodman Brown moves past the shock of Goody Cloyse’s actions, he is exposed to the sins of the holiest members of their Puritan community, the minister and Deacon Gookin. While Goodman Brown shamefully “[conceals] himself within the verge of the forest… he recognized the voices of the minister and Deacon Gookin” who speak of the same evil “meeting” as Goody Cloyse and even remark that “several of the Indian powwows” will even be present (4,5). This talk of devilish acts from people known to Goodman Brown as holier than all causes Goodman Brown great pain and confusion even to the point where he was “ready to sink down on the ground, faint and overburdened” from what he had just witnessed (5). In the short time from when Goodman Brown enters the forest, sees Goody Cloyse, and sees the minister and the deacon, his entire life and upbringing is

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