Diversity of Hawthorne\'s Writings in "Young Goodman Brown", "Ethan Brand", and
"The Birthmark" .

Michael Duncan ENG. 111 T/TH 9:30 am


"... it is no delusion. There is an Unpardonable Sin!" , a quote
by Ethan Brand that is at the root of many stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Nathaniel Hawthornes gloomy, dark style of writing is an emphasis on his theme
of evil at societies heart. Writing about what he knew Hawthorne described the
puritan society in different periods of time and defined different characters
but all connected through his style. The stories that exemplify the diversity
of Hawthornes writing are "Young Goodman Brown" , " Ethan Brand" , and "The
Birthmark" .

Having read these stories it is possible to become engrossed in
the darkness that is portrayed and none is better than "Young Goodman Brown" .
Young Goodman Brown, the character, is first introduced to us in the clearing of
Salem village and we learn that he has faith in the goodness of the village and
Faith for his companion as well. The people that we meet in Salem village in
the first few paragraphs are just Goodman and Faith. These two characters are
very important to understand for their surface characters or illusional
characters. It is soon learned that Goodman Brown is not such a good man and
later Faith shows us just as much false character. Goodman and Faith are not
the only characters that are not all they seem to be. We come to meet more
characters in the short story that are superficial as is the village itself.
Goodman Brown leaves the bright, warm, goodness of his village to make a journey
in the woods to meet a stranger. A good place to meet a stranger would be
these surrounding woods of Salem for it is here that described by Nathaniel
Hawthorne that "He had taken a dreary road,darkened by all the gloomiest trees
of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through,
and closed immediately behind." and like the scheming mind of an evil person
the dark woods leads one down the wrong pathway.

The woods are not an allusion as was the village, the woods are
exactly what they seem to be therefore the characters met inside the woods will
be as shady as the woods themselves. Leading Goodman Brown to his despair is
the first character, the stranger. The stranger is much older than the Goodman
but the two converse easily and both understand each other even though they
talk around Goodmans evil purpose. It is this easy conversation that Hawthorne
writes to us about Goodmans evil. Though Goodman Brown believes himself to be
alone in his journey down the trail the stranger tells him that it is a beaten
path and has been taken even by his father. So does the world that has been
built up around Goodman Brown begin to crumble and with the first blow he is
set up for more devastation into the world of the devil. " Wickedness or not,
I have a very general acquaintance here in New England." The devilish stranger
explains how even the noblest of people have an evil in their character and
those who hide are those who are trusted the most. Many of these characters
that the stranger knows are companions of the Goodman and these are Goody
Cloyce ,the Deacon, the other patriots of Salem, and even his own wife Faith
who he sees worshiping in the woods behind a hazy fire. By telling the story of
a devil worshiping town in Salem, which is already known for its witch scare,
Hawthorne tries to convey his beliefs that in all of humanity there can and is
evil. For those who believe themselves to be good are not and those who do not
are.

" Ethan Brand" is a different sort of story that will take place in
the side of a mountain where a man and his son and one particular a llimekiln
stoaker enter the scene. Visualized to us by Hawthorne Bartram and his son are
sitting by the kiln, Bartram the steady worker burns limestone and talks to his
son about Ethan Brand. Ethan Brand is a mystery and is representative of the
people who are not understood or who may be the outcasts of society. Ethan
Brand was a mystery to his townspeople who by leaving the daily routine of
life and discontinuing the collective society was branded an outcast and maybe
even evil. Hawthorne tries to tell the reader through