Young Goodman Brown Conflict

Internal conflict is a battle of opposing forces, ideas, or desires occurring within a character’s mind. Young Goodman Brown faces both internal and external conflicts throughout Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown. Young Goodman Brown struggles with his heart and soul after being led astray by the devil to participate in witchcraft. Young Goodman Brown also faces conflicts from the people in his town when Young Goodman Brown tries to convince them of what he has seen. Young Goodman Brown’s internal and external conflicts affect Young Goodman Brown throughout the story right up until Young Goodman Brown dies.

One of Young Goodman Brown’s internal struggles is between Young Goodman Brown’s heart and Young Goodman Browns’ soul. Young Goodman Brown’s heart is full of sin and Young Goodman Brown is always struggling with Young Goodman Browns’ lust for Young Goodman Browns’ wife, Faith. Young Goodman Brown’s soul is Young Goodman Brown’s sense of right and wrong. Young Goodman Brown tries to be good, but it seems like Young Goodman Brown cannot help himself when he thinks about Young Goodman Browns’ lust for Young Goodman Browns’ wife.

Young Goodman Brown, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, shows Young Goodman as a person who struggles with overcoming evil and staying good. The central idea of Young Goodman Brown is Young’s internal conflict between wanting to show all people as ‘pure evil’ and the pull to stay good and believe that there is good in everyone and that not everyone is evil. Young is very obsessed with his idea of ‘good vs evil’ and this appears in almost every paragraph of the story.

Young is constantly dealing with an internal battle between upholding his one true belief, which is that all people are evil and good does not exist, and the feeling that he must stay good and be a person who believes that everyone can be good. Young’s struggle with the idea of ‘good vs evil’ causes Young Goodman to make decisions throughout his life that shape Young into a harsh, but loving person. The first time Young is faced with the internal conflict between good and evil is when Father Merrin invites Young to go on an errand to Salem Farms (3).

Young shows that he is in favor of Father Merrin’s plan to show Young the ‘evil’ people around their town and Young goes out on this errand with great excitement. Young Goodman Brown calls Salem Farms, “the Devil’s Own Home”(3). Young says “I [Young]… [am] determined [to go see] all that [is] evil around us”(3). Young’s excitement to see the ‘evil’ people of Salem shows Young’s belief that everyone is evil and Young couldn’t wait to prove this to himself.

Young Goodman Brown then goes on to say that he “[will not] allow [himself or anyone else in his family]” to go to the Farms, Young Goodman Brown thinks that it is too dangerous for him to go. Young Goodman Brown then says “I [Young] felt it was my duty to go down among them”(4) Young Goodman Brown quickly changes his mind about going to Salem Farms because Young doesn’t want Young Goodman Brown’s family to get hurt.

Young shows throughout Young Goodman Brown that Young is very overprotective of his family and Young doesn’t want Young Goodman Brown’s loved ones to be hurt by the evil people in Salem. Young Goodman Brown quickly decides he may go back to the Farms for another reason though, Young wants to show everyone how evil they are. Young says “I [Young] should like well enough to see you all sunk in hell”(4). Young shows again in this line that Young does not believe in goodness, Young believes there is no such thing as good in this world because he thinks everyone will go to hell when they die.

After reading this quote, I can agree with one interpretation because it looks like Young Goodman Brown is saying if god wanted us all dead then god would kill us all, Young Goodman Brown is saying if god doesn’t want to keep people alive then god wouldn’t. I also think Young Goodman Brown may think that heaven and hell are real places, Young Goodman Brown seems like a person who is very religious because Young wants to go on this errand with Father Merrin to prove that everyone in Salem Farms are evil.

Young Goodman Brown wants to show God that not everyone can be trusted with his family. When Young goes on the errand with Father Merrin he sees many different people from around town including three women named Goody Cloyse, Goody Cory and Mistress Hibbins (7). These women are seen as ‘pure evil’ by Young but when Young gets back home Young Goodman Brown says Young was “disposed to believe”(7) Young Goodman Brown’s perspective slowly changes throughout Young Goodman Brown.

Young shows that he still wants to see everything as black and white, good vs evil but Young sees the women as pure evil because Young thinks they are witches. Young doesn’t want to call these women ‘good’ people because he is scared of them, that they may hurt Young or his family, but Young realizes that these women can be trusted with his family. After Young gets back home he “sought… his pillow”(8). I think Young needed some rest after seeing all of this so called ‘evil’ around Salem Farms and also so he could change how he viewed everyone him.

The next day after Young comes back Young Goodman Brown sees the women again and Young says Young “had a better opinion of [them]”(8). Young Goodman Brown starts to think that evil doesn’t really exist in the world because Young’s perspective starts changing throughout Young Goodman Brown. Young thinks everyone can be trusted with his family, that maybe god is not as cruel as Young thought he might be before.

Young’s new view on life shows us that Young changes how he views everything by the end of Young Goodman Brown, after seeing ‘pure evil’ people in Salem Farms become good people in town means there isn’t really such thing as pure evil or pure good. The greatest example of internal conflict in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story is when Young finds out who Young Goodman Brown is. Young Goodman Brown says Young “started with terror and a presentiment of evil”(11).

Young Goodman Brown believes he knows who Young is because of Young’s name but Young believes Young has died or Young thinks Young may be dead. Nathaniel Hawthorne starts to make the reader think that maybe Young is someone else by saying “He stood still, rooted apparently to one spot”(11) which makes us think that Young is not really standing still he may be dead or something else. When Young goes into the forest after seeing his wife on the way to Salem Farms with him, she was wearing a black veil. “

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