Socio-Psychological Alienation in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”

  •  Mahmoud Kharbutli    
  •  Ishraq Al-Omoush    


This paper investigates socio-psychological alienation in Hawthorne’s story “Young Goodman Brown”. It focuses on Brown’s psychological motivations that lead him to leave his village, Salem, on a journey to be taken literally and allegorically along with the inner conflicts thereof. Eventually, the result is a short-lived schism in his psyche. In fact, what urges Brown to step farther into the dark wood is an insistence to discover the whole truth so as to put an end to any vacillation between threatening possibilities suggested by the devil about the Puritan society to which he belongs. Thus, Brown turns into a rejectionist of all the teachings of his Puritan culture. In the end not only does he liberate himself from these cultural shackles, but he also seems to rise above them. So, while he lives among his countrymen he is not one of them. Brown’s new psychological state never allows him to accept the evil nature and the hypocrisy of his ancestry. Moreover, the psychological confusion in Brown’s psyche reaches its peak in a state of depression that we notice at the end of the story, which eventually puts him among those who have come to be called the “dark” romantics of the period, along with Poe, Melville, and Dickinson.

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