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No Romance Found in Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brow

No Romance Found in Young Goodman Brown

Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his short story,  “Young Goodman Brown”,

generates a relationship in direct contrast with that of a true romance

among the roles of Faith and Young Goodman Brown. Whereas, a true  romance

is the ideal romance, exhibiting virtuous aspects such as trust, as  well

as a burning passion and an undying love for one another. The  relationship

which Young Goodman creates between himself and Faith is one that is

unresponsive , and is based on distrust and a willingness on his part to

abandon her.


Consequently, as far as passion and desire are  concerned, someone

quickly call Dr. Ruth because this marriage is in trouble. After  Faith

asks Goodman not to depart that night, pleading, “pray tarry with me this

night, dear husband, of all nights in the year”, he answers her saying ,

“my journey must be done.” He then questions the sincerity of her

“peculiar” plea asking whether she doubts him. Since when is it such  a

farfetched request for a wife to ask her husband for company on a given

night? Does this request signify a lack of trust in her husband?  If

anything, it illustrates a lack of self confidence in himself as well as  a

lack of trust in her. In addition, after departing his wife, Goodman  Brown

states to the mysterious man he meets in the forest, that “Faith kept  [him]

back awhile.” This means that although both his wife, Faith, and his  own

faith delay him, they cannot stop him and thus aren’t more important than

committing this deed.


Furthermore, there is no evidence of his trust  for her in the

marriage. Immediately after witnessing a pink ribbon fluttering down  onto

the branch of a tree, Young Goodman Brown cries out, ” my Faith is gone!”

By this statement, Goodman means that his wife has physically gone over  to

the devil and that his faith in her is gone. This, thereby proves  the

absence of trust in his wife. When he does see Faith in the forest,  he

yells to her to resist the devil, but is unsure of her ultmate decision.

Therefore, upon his return to town, Hawthorne writes after that night, he

“shrank from the bosom of Faith.” Goodman isn’t even able to  determine

whether or not Faith has chosen the right path. Once and for all,  this

demonstrates the privation of faith and trust in her on Young Goodman’s

part, in addition to the lack of a deep, pure, and undying love for  Faith.


For if it were not so, he would not be so quick to abandon his faith if

Faith without a struggle,

Hence the relationship between Young Goodman  Brown and Faith is not

that of a true romance, simply because of the insufficience of trust,  faith,

and passion Young Goodman possesses for his wife. Afterall, a  relationship

is a two way street. By setting up Goodman’s character and actions like  he

does, Hawthorne is trying to convey a message of upmost importance.

Goodman goes to the forest on a quest to seek all those who are evil.


Eventhough by going to the forest, his only purpose is to satisfy his

unsatiable curiosity, it interferes and eventually destroys his own life,

This is symbolic of the Puritan People who, in their quest for sinners  such

as witches and those possessed by the devil, live their lives neurotic,  and

in suspicion and doubt.

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