In the story Young Goodman Brown a Puritan man confronts and tries to deal with the fact all of the people he thought were god-faring people infact worshiped satin. His Puritanical background was such that he was unable to deal with the possibility of this and he lost his faith and lived an unhappy life. The author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, wrote several stories set during this Puritanical time; showing the religion and people of this time to be intolerable and unforgiving. In this short story Hawthorne shows his dislike of Puritanism through Goodman Brown’s experience with the Devil.
Hawthorne begins to show his dislike for Puritanism while Goodman Brown is having his conversation with his traveling companion. Goodman’s remark that he wishes to go no further in this journey, reasoning that his father and other ancestors had not been down this path before. His companion then remarks that in fact he has been down this path with both his father and grandfather when they needed his assistance. The other traveler tells Goodman Brown of the wicked things his ancestors did and how he helped them accomplish them. Goodman finds this hard to believe but the other traveler says he and Goodman’s ancestors were in fact good friends of his. This passage in the story show’s Hawthorns dislike for Puritanism by showing how these supposed highly religious people beat and killed people unlike themselves. This shows how truly intolerant the Puritan religion was.
Later on in Goodman’s journey he beings to see people heading towards the same satanically meeting that he is heading to. These people include the woman that taught him catechism, his minister, a Deacon, many members of his church, elected officials, and his wife. These were all extremely holy people in his eyes and it was a shock to seem them in ceremony celebrating the Devil. As these highly respectable people pass they talk of their enjoyment of tonight’s meeting and some even talk directly to the Devil and speak of wicked things. All these seemly highly religious people seem to be going to worship the most evil thing imaginable to Puritan society. Hawthorne again is showing his dislike for the Puritan religion by showing that many of the most religious people were in fact evil and intolerant and hid behind the mask of religion to do their deeds.
After Goodman Brown’s encounter with this satanically meeting he awakes in the middle of the woods alone. His untrust of his own religion and faith become so profound that he refused to worship and celebrate the religion these people practiced. He could not trust anyone, not even his own wife. He then went on to live a life without religion or a peaceful death because his faith was so weakened when he realized most people were not totally un-sinful and infact relished in their sinful ways. The author once again writes of his personal distaste for the Puritan religion in this last passage by having Goodman Brown not be able to pray and listen to the preaching that he believes to be flawed and taught by unfaithful ministers.
Young Goodman Brown was written as a historical protest to Puritanism and its affects on the United States culture. Our background originates from these supposedly highly religious people who in fact were often treacherous and harmful from anyone different from themselves. Hawthorn’s personal dislikes of Puritanism leads him to write this tail of these people’s beliefs and their contrasting actions.