Menu

To Build a Fire and Young Goodman Brown

0 Comment

Another interesting point is that Hawthorne makes sure to clarify that the journey which Goodman Brown makes into the forest is done at night and not during the day. If any trespasser were asked what comes to his mind with the thought of a dark forest, it can safely be assumed that by and large the first response would be related to the creepy feel that a dark forest exuberates. The dark forest sets the tone of the story and makes it clear to the reader from the start that what he is about to read is not a happily ending romantic novel or a light comedy, rather the dark thought provoking nature of the story comes across instantly. Therefore, the very first role played by the most predominantly used element of nature in the story, the forest, is to highlight the feel of the narrative and set the mood of the story. Time and again references have been made in the novel to the nature of the forest by the use of adjectives such as gloomy, dark, silent, wilderness, and so forth. … As Goodman Brown continues with his journey in the forest he meets an old man, who has not been given a name but it appears to be obvious that Goodman Brown does know that he will be meeting this man and that the meeting was not a coincidence. The conversation between Goodman Brown and the old man revolves around the old man challenging Goodman Brown’s belief in the goodness of the people of the society and his father and grandfather. From this conversation it appears as though the old man represents the devil or the temptation that attracts man towards evil. Hawthorne makes it a point to specify that the old man is sitting under an old tree while waiting for Goodman Brown, so that the reader can instantly make the connection of the old man with evil because there is an inherent eeriness associated with old trees with their sagging roots. Furthermore, the stick which the old man is narrated to be holding is constantly compared to a black serpent as follows, But the only thing about him that could be fixed upon as remarkable was his staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent, (Hawthorne, 8). Here we see another element of nature coming into play, the snake is said to be amongst the most venomous of all animals and the fact that the old man holds this stick with such comfort reflects on his association with evil. An interesting piece of conversation from the story is as follows, Come, Goodman Brown, cried his fellow-traveler, this is a dull pace for the beginning of a journey. Take my staff, if you are so soon weary, (Hawthorne, 9), this suggestion of the old man to Goodman Brown can have