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The Hero’s Journey in Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown

The Hero’s Journey in Young Goodman Brown

Faith is accepting what you are taught or told without trying to prove or disprove it, rather than discovering it through experience. Those who believe in God have faith. It has not been proven that God exists; similarly, it has not been proven that humans are kind, honest, and good by nature. Young Goodman Brown is a character in “Young Goodman Brown,” who leaves his known world in Salem village and travels an unknown road in a dark forest in the middle of the night, a common motif in literature better known as the Hero’s journey, and is faced with obstacles. He must decide if he will carry his journey out till the end, or turn back and not learn the truth about himself and other humans.

The story “Young Goodman Brown,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne traces Young Goodman Brown’s experiences, physical and psychological, paralleling the Hero’s Journey and showing how he discovers that humans are truly evil by nature; therefore, altering his views of other humans and life itself. In the beginning of the story, Goodman Brown is faced with a decision to stay home with his wife another night or to take off on his journey. This parallels his psychological decision to leave behind all that he knew to be true up until that point and discover the truth no matter how harsh it may be. The call, from the Hero’s journey, is when Goodman Brown decides to go out alone to discover himself. Faith, his wife, is urging him to stay with her instead of leaving that night. She almost convinces Brown to stay, but his desire to discover himself overpowers his desire to stay with Faith.

The struggle going on inside of Goodman Brown’s head is really between remaining innocent and having blind faith i…

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…oom” (pg. 100). His life was changed so drastically during that one night that he could never forget it. Through the Hero’s journey, Hawthorne shows the development of Young Goodman Brown as he discovers his true nature as evil. He comes to terms with the reality that humans are evil creatures, no matter how honorable or innocent they may seem.

Transformations, both physical and psychological, took place during Goodman Brown’s expedition, but were these changes necessarily good ones? Which is better: to have grace and innocence, but be happy with life, or to know the truth although it may hurt to know it? There is a cliché used to explain a good point of view that says, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.” Young Goodman Brown would have led a happier life if he remained innocent, but at least he received something good from his journey, knowledge and truth.

John Steinbeck’s East of Eden – Catherine as Monster

Catherine as Monster in East of Eden

In the novel, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Catherine Ames is one of the main characters. She is introduced to the reader as a monster and as time goes on, she possesses both monster like and animal qualities. As Catherine she gets older and wiser, she gets more evil and displays her monster and animal like characteristics. She knows she is powerful and indestructible. She has manipulated and tricked many people her life causing them to go to the extreme… death.

Catherine “Cathy” shows her evilness and her monster like behavior in many scenes throughout the book. Steinbeck illustrates Cathy as being a monster: “I believe there are monsters born in the world… It is my belief that Cathy Ames was born with the tendencies, or lack of them, which drove and forced her all of her life,” (Steinbeck, 95-96). Cathy used this to her advantage by making people uneasy, but not so uneasy that they would not run away from her. Cathy was born with an innocent look that fooled many; she had golden blond hair, hazel eyes, a thin and delicate nose, and a small chin to make her face look heart shaped. According to the town Cathy lived, Cathy had a scent of sweetness, but that is just what Cathy wanted the town to see and think when Cathy planned her kill. “The fire broke out… the Ames house went up like a rocket… Enough remained of Mr. and Mrs. Ames to make sure there were two bodies” (114-115). Cathy had set the house on fire and broke into the safe to steal the family’s money. As the investigators scoped the place, they noticed that the bolts stuck out and there were no keys left in the locks. They knew it was not an accident. Cathy’s body was never found, but the town assumed that she died. “If it had not been for Cathy’s murder, the fire and robbery might have been a coincidence.” Steinbeck, again, portrays the reader that Cathy is a monster: “When I said Cathy was a monster it seemed to me that it was so”(242). Steinbeck is reassuring the reader that Cathy is a monster and with the evidence before and after this statement. For example, Cathy later changes her name to Kate and runs a whorehouse.

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