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The Empiricist Journey of Young Goodman Brown

The Empiricist Journey of Young Goodman Brown

In the late 17th century, John Locke was one of the most influential people of his age. He was a renowned philosopher who established radical ideas about the political, social, and psychological ideals of mankind. One of his philosophical ideas, which he is said to be the founder of, is British Empiricism. This idea holds that “all knowledge is derived from experience whether of the mind or the senses” (“Empiricism” 480). In any man’s life, there arises such a point in time where he comes to the realization that there is a sense of evil in the world. Whether it is by something as subtle as locking the door at night before going to bed or being directly confronted at gun point as a man demands your tennis shoes, at some point man will realize that the innocence of his childhood does not last forever. Locke believed that people gain knowledge from their own personal experience. For Young Goodman Brown, this experience comes with his journey into the forest with the fellow traveler as chronicled in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story. Initially, Brown was, as his namesake foretells, a “young, good man” who believes in man’s basic goodness, yet within the inner desires of his heart wishes to see what all the world had to offer. Therefore, he set off on a “journey” into the forest to explore the world of this unknown evil. The story of “Young Goodman Brown” is a classic example of the empiricist ideas of Locke in how the intrigues of the unknown beckoned Young Brown as he experienced the transition between his initial idea of man’s basic goodness to the reality that evil exists in the heart of every man.

However, before we can analyze Young Goodman Brown’s journey in the for…

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…h he knows little about.

Works Cited

Brown, Vivenne. “The ‘Figure’ of God and the Limits to Liberalism: A Rereading of Locke’s ‘Essay’ and ‘Two Treatises’”. Journal of the History of Ideas 60.1 (1999): 85.

“Empiricism.” New Encyclopaedia Brittanica. 1998 ed. Volume 4, 480.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown.” The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. 268-276.

Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. New York: Penguin, 1974.

Meyer, Michael, ed. “A Study of Three Authors: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Flannery O’Connor, and Alice Munro.” The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. 267.

Tritt, Michael. “‘Young Goodman Brown’ and the Psychology of Projection”. Studies in Short Fiction. 23 (1996): 113-117.

Jane Eyre and Control Dramas

Jane Eyre and Control Dramas

There are particular powers that drive lives in their respective directions. Some are internal, but the majority are external. The external propellers are forces caused by the environment of an individual. Environmental influences include but are not limited to geographical and climatic forces. In addition, there are societal forces such as the “control drama.” Control dramas have been introduced by the best selling author James Redfield as a way to evaluate situations through behavioral classifications. Jane Eyre is an excellent example of how control dramas affect the individual. In order to fully understand why Jane acts as she does, it is paramount to analyze the control dramas that influence her choices and decisions (Redfield 142-43).

Redfield suggests, “One of the first steps we must take to evolve consciously is to clear away our past attitudes, fears, misinformation, and behavior for controlling the flow of energy” (142-43). A control drama is a situation that involves an individual want or drive to control power. This will to power is exhibited through actions, reactions, conversations, and all other facets of everyday life. The foundation of control dramas begin early in life and set the tone for further life choices. In a conversation, for example, there is often a constant drive for each participant to feel as if he or she is in control. The way that each person gains control defines the different levels of a control drama. There are four basic types of power control that we purport: two which are passive and the two that are active.

The most active role one can assume is the “intimidator.” The intimidator vies for attention by use of extreme behavior….

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…Jane’s environment, she fell in love with Mr. Rochester. The reason for her feelings was not because he was good looking, especially kind, rich, or socially suitable, but because she felt no pressure to perform within a control drama. Mr. Rochester and Jane did not have to act with activity or passivity to coerce the other to sacrifice any of their own personal control. This unfettered relationship is finally successful because of their conscious effort to remain free of these dramas.

Works Cited

Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Ed. Richard J. Dunn. 2nd ed. Norton: New York, 1987. (5-398).

Eagleton, Terry. “Jane Eyre’s power Struggles.” Jane Eyre. Ed. Richard J. Dunn. 2nd ed. Norton: New York, 1987. (491-96).

Redfield, James, and Carol Adrienne. The Celestine Prophesy: An Experimental Guide. New York: Time Warner Co., 1995.

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