Young Goodman Brown is a character that undergoes many changes throughout the story. He is very much influenced by the events that unfold in the woods that night. He is also changed by the characters around him, or rather his knowledge of their hidden sins.
In the beginning of the tale, Goodman Brown seems to be happy with his life. He has a lovely young wife and claims, “I’ll cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven.” “We have been a race of honest men and good Christians,” he says of his fathers before him. He respects his elders and is devoted to his religion, like most Puritans during this time period. When he first ventured into the woods he kept insisting it was time to return home.
However, a number of occurrences begin to take a toll on Goodman Brown. He first learns from the old man, that his father had kept company with the devil. Then, one by one, he meets all the townspeople he thought was so very good on their way to a witches meeting. Throughout these revelations, Brown’s faith is wavering; though he insists he is going to turn back, he continues progressing into the heart of the woods. He truly believes that all these people were godly, and on finding out how devilish they are he is questioning God and, “doubting whether there really was a Heaven above him.” Upon hearing his wife taking the devil’s communion he cries, “My Faith is gone! There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name.” When he is on the verge of being converted and sees his wife he then tells her, “Look up to Heaven, and resist the Wicked One!”
What is a good wife? A good wife is a woman who takes care of her family. The story, “Rip Van Winkle”, by Washington Irving, often shows what a good wife is. In the story, Rip Van Winkle is the main character and Dame Van Winkle is his wife. Dame Van Winkle is a very good wife. Dame Van Winkle is a good wife, even though she disciplines her husband by verbally and physically abusing him. Irving ...
The next morning Brown awakes not knowing if the meeting was a dream or reality. Regardless, there is a distinct change in him; “A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not desperate man,” replaced the naïve young man of before. He avoids and disapproves of those he once admired. Though he does become a father and grandfather it is assumed he did not take an active role in his family member’s lives. While his faith was at one time established, and at another moment wavering, it now seems to be lost forever.
Whether Goodman Brown worships God or the devil, it makes no difference; it is not his faith in his religion that was lost. It was his faith in other people, and their goodness that vanished. It seems a desolate life when one cannot trust or turn to anyone for advice or comforting. Sharing your life with other people, which Brown surrenders, seems to be as much a part of human nature as sin.