In Pursuit of the Unknown: Young Goodman Brown

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Have you ever wanted to discover further than what is there to see? Or perhaps had the curiosity to search for the meaning of your life. Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne, tells us about the story of a young man whose attraction to the unknown made him lose his faith. Goodman Brown meets with the devil and causes him to live the life exclude from his own community.

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At the onset of the story, Goodman Brown has a feeling that what he is about to do will have an effect on him for the rest of his life. He feels culpability for leaving Faith behind and experience the unknown of the forest. What a wrench am I, to leave her on such an errand? (261) Goodman Brown. Young Goodman Brown had doubts carrying out his pursuit, as we hear him urge his travel companion to divulge him the details of the whole evil proceedings instead of journeying forth to discover on his own. It is my purpose now to return from whence I came. Goodmans resolve to forge on with the journey seemed fueled further by the revelation that his father and grandfather had taken the same journey into the thick forest in the pursuit of the unknown. In his innocence, however, it never crossed his imaginations that his folks would do such a blasphemous act as they were devoted Christians; only for his innocence to be thwarted by the news from his companion that they had taken the same journey with his folks. My father never went into the woods on such an errand, nor his father before himThey were my good acquaintances, both; and many a pleasant walk have we had along this path, and returned merrily after midnight.

Many are the times we come to question our beliefs and wonder for a quick fleeting moment about the possibilities on the other side of the coin. We often dread evil, particularly if we are from a Christian background, as was Goodman. In our minds, we elevate our religious leaders to such levels that it would be absurd to conceive the idea that they are after other pursuits other than holiness. This innocence persists until some thought or suggestion instigates turbulence in our beliefs. Such was the scenario when Goodmans friend dropped him a suggestion that all of the people that were perceived pious were as a matter of fact attending wicked rituals. Goodmans curiosity was piqued to attend the rituals and confirm firsthand whether this was truly the case. I have a very common colleague here in New England. The deacons of many a church have drunk the communion with me, said Goodmans companion.

In the pursuit of the unknown, there comes a point where questions crop up as to why we are after the pursuit in the first place. We often wonder; so what if the truth is finally discovered? It reaches a point where the attraction of the unknown becomes a bizarre obsession to the point where we even question our sanity. Young Goodman asks his elder travel companion, What if a despicable old female do choose to go to the imp when I assumed she was heading to paradise; is that any motive why I should leave my dear Faith and go after her? This is the defining point of the pursuit of the unknown: whether to forge on with it or to abandon it all together. There is usually the comforting lure of the life that is to be left behind as the prospects of the new challenges of the unknown linger close. Goodmans mind drifts to the beautiful nights spent in the arms of his wife Faith, bumping into the minister as he usually took his morning walk and his usual interactions with Deacon Gookin. Goodmans meditations of his past did not deter him from forging on with his pursuit of the unknown.

The familiar sounds in the woods of his people from Salem, both pious and ungodly, bolstered his resolve to proceed to the place where the meeting was to take place. From afar, Goodman heard the strangely familiar sound of his wife Faith uttering lamentations and entreating for some favor followed by encouragements from saints and sinners alike. At the assemblage, Goodman witnessed respected people gathered for the ceremony; rulers, deacons, and common people alike. The dark figure conducting the ceremony welcomed the new converts, Goodman being one of them. So was his wife, Faith. According to the dark figure, humans are all sinners, irrespective of the positions they held; whether rulers or deacons or common folks like Goodman and his wife. According to him, there is a common misconception of revering some people to be holier than the rest. But deep down the surface of the facade is the true nature of all mankind: sinfulness. This evening it shall allow you to know their surreptitious deeds: how hoary-bearded males of the clerical have alleged wanton words to the new maids...

After this experience, a distrustful, sad Goodman was born. He stopped meditating as he used to before. He never again trusted the preaching of his pastor, neither did he see any meaning in family prayers in the morning. He stopped cherishing the good moments he used to share with his wife, every time averting her eye contact. So transformed was he that his tombstone when his time had come did not have any verse engraved on it.

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