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The Problem of Faith in Young Goodman Brown

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Levy, Leo B. “ The Problem of Faith in “ Young Goodman Brown” . The Journal of English and Germanic Philology. Web. Levy comments on the fact that of all of Hawthorne’ s stories, Young Goodman Brown is one which has been the most analyzed and most commented upon. This is because the reader is not sure whether the story is based on Hawthorne’ s own life, an allegorical everyman or at a deeper level, an inquiry into faith and religion and their place in human existence. No doubt the setting of the story is very much along the lines of Rip Van Winkle who appears to have gone to sleep for one hundred years before he awakes again.

But there is clearly much more merit here, and far deeper questions to be answered. Faith itself can be taken as a young woman, an allegory or a symbol. In the first instance, Goodman shows that he is much dependent on Faith and can repose his trust in her. In Faith, he finds solace and refuge from evil. The knowledge that his pastor and his catechism teacher are also on the path of evil does not overly surprise Goodman Brown as he has his suspicions which are now confirmed.

However, he finds it very hard to do without Faith as she is his rudder and his mast. Nevertheless, we understand that the path to salvation or damnation must necessarily be undertaken alone (Levy, 1975, 375-387). Eberwein, Jane Donahue. “ My Faith is Gone! Young Goodman Brown and Puritan Conversion” . Young Goodman Brown: Interpretations. Ed. Bloom, Harold. USA: Chelsea House Publishers, 2005. Print. P 19In this treatise on the subject, Jane Donahue concentrates on questions of faith and conversion of new Christians to the faith.

She states that it is likely that new converts begin to question their values and premises about a religion’ s merit soon after the initial euphoria of finding God begins to wear off. So the allegory of Young Brown Goodman leaving his young wife Faith at the beginning of the forest may well be translated into the metaphor of leaving his faith at the gates before he sets out to question his own principles of goodness and self-worth.

It is an examination whereby one finds his or her own measure of faith and worthiness.

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