People hold different viewpoints on human nature. The Christian deems that evil is the nature of humankind, but the Buddhist considers kind as the nature of humans. Some scholars also believe that Hawthrone wrote Yong Goodman Brwon is to testify that “Evil is the nature of mankind” (Hawthorne). In fact, “Jung believed that the human psyche was fundamentally contradictory, and that in every person there are tendencies, feelings, characteristics, and complexes that do not jibe with ego consciousness” (Moores). Therefore, Conflict is the nature of humans. The essence of this conflict is to help people seeking a balance no matter inside of oneself or in society.
Back to the Yong Goodman Brown itself, various conflicts throughout the whole story. Obviously, evil and good is the main conflict of this novel. First of all, evil and good conflict reflected in Brown’s internal conflict. From before Brown entered the forest to when he arrived at the witch meeting, the struggle filled in his heart during the whole journey. Brown felt compunctious to leave his Faith for this indefinable errand. Also, he had hesitated when he realized that “My father never went into the woods on such an errand, nor his father before him” (Hawthorne), and this behavior does not conform to his moral standard as a good Christian. This is the first half of this article, Brown felt uncertain because this action not conforming to the doctrine of his belief. However, he started to doubt his religion in the second half of this article. “He looked up to the sky, doubting whether there really was a Heaven above him” (Hawthorne). The true reason caused this internal conflict converted is the external conflict between Brown and villager. Brown continually met the people in town on the road. No matter the old woman who taught him catechism or the minister and Deacon Gookin, all the people that he thought were the spokesmen for purity and kind-hearted were stepped on this evil journey. The duplicity of human intensified his internal conflict and broke the balance between evil and good in his heart. The root causes this situation is that “Brown’s society is hypocritical and basing its beliefs strongly on the potency of community” (Boonyaprasop).
In addition, this internal conflict is unconscious happened if superficially understand this novel. However, this conflict is purposeful and kind of intended. “With this excellent resolve for the future, Goodman Brown felt himself justified in making more haste on his present evil purpose” (Hawthorne). “Brown is aware of the sort of trouble he is heading for if he is so determined to actualize it” (KUMRA). He wants to solve this conflict to achieve a good community as he imagines to some extent, but the end of the matter is he being a hopeless person and get the gloom remainder of his life. Everyone is conflict, as the end of the article, “The old minister bestowed a blessing, as he passed. Goody Cloyse, the excellent old Christian, stood in the early sunshine, catechizing a little girl” (Hawthorne). No one is like a wicked person that had attended witch meeting. There are no absolute good people and bad people in the world, and everyone is trying to seek a balance in the conflict.
According to Boonyaprasop, “Hawthorne emphasized the importance of overcoming the past and utilizing it for personal growth, he illustrates the dangers of the prioritization of communal beliefs over the own ability to reflect and evaluate”. Brown is fortunate and unfortunate. He is lucky although he recognized the duality of humans, he also resists rejecting evil temptation. He also is unlucky because he pinned his hopes and beliefs on others. Browm expected others’ change to achieve a virtuous and moral community. Actually, as the epitaph of Westminster Abbey written that Change the world should begin with changing oneself. The most essential point is that Brown ultra wants to get an absolute good society rather than to seek a balance between good and evil.
- Boonyaprasop, Marina. “4.4 The Scarlet Letter of Young Goodman Brown.” Hawthorne’s Wilderness: Nature and Puritanism in Hawthorne’s the Scarlet Letter and “Young Goodman Brown.” Anchor Academic Pub., 2013. Pp.94-97. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cat05550a&AN=troy.857079527&site=eds-live.
- Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown.” Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. 5th ed. Eds. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R Mandell. Boston: Thomson/Heinle. 2004, 335-346. Print.
- KUMRA, Necat. “Social Semiotics and Efl Pedagogy: A Semiotic Visit to the Enemy within the Heart of Young Goodman Brown.” Ekev Academic Review, vol. 15, no. 46, Jan. 2011, pp. 405–420. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=83752287&site=ehost-live.
- Moores, D.J. ‘Young Goodman Brown’s ‘evil purpose’: Hawthorne and the Jungian shadow.’ Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, vol. 27, no. 3-4, 2005, p. 4+. Gale Academic OneFile, https://link-gale-com.libproxy.troy.edu/apps/doc/A147792446/AONE?u=troy25957&sid=AONE&xid=d58d9e78. Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.