Young Goodman Brown and Rappacini\'s Daughter


Young Goodman Brown And Rappacini’s Daughter 2001words



In Puritan Massachusetts the key word was suspicion. In order to be accepted, by the community, you had to be a member of
the "elect," destined for a spot in the eternity of heaven. In order to be member of this elite group of "selected" individuals
you had to be free of sin and evil. It goes without saying, that you could never be caught conjuring the devil, as is illustrated
by the horrors of the infamous Salem witch trials. In Young Goodman Brown, and Rappacini’s Daughter Nathaniel
Hawthorne portrays two different ways of soliciting or being solicited by the devil. The final scenes in both of these stories
although similar in nature, are actually conflicting in essence, and show the two adverse ways in which people and evil can
become one.

In Young Goodman Brown, the protagonist, Goodman Brown goes off on a typical search for the devil. The devil is
associated with darkness and terror, a creature only to be sought after while enveloped in the darkness of the night. As
Goodman Brown himself replies to Faith’s longing for him to wait until morning to embark on his journey, "My journey needst
be done twixt now and sunrise" (611). Goodman Brown knows exactly what he is going to look for, he is searching for evil. He
goes to the forest to do his deed and "he had taken a dreary road darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest" to get
there(611). Goodman Brown is willingly seeking the devil, and Hawthorne is throwing in all the stereotypes. This entire
search for the devil is portrayed as being very ugly. What then is pretty? In Young Goodman Brown beauty equals inherent
goodness, or Faith. Young Goodman Brown separates from this righteousness, for evil. From the beginning, he was leaving,
at least for the time being, Faith behind. "And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the
street, letting the wind play with the soft ribbons of her cap" (610). The beauty of faith and her pink ribbons are left
behind, his intentions are obvious.

In Rappacini’s Daughter Giovanni does none of this. He never went out searching for the devil, all he wanted to do was
study in Padua. The devil was not obvious to Giovanni, it went after him, and he did not even know it. Giovanni’s first
glimpse of the "devil’s lair" is considerably different of that of Goodman Brown. Instead of a dreary, dark forest, Giovanni
saw Eden. "Water which continued to gush and sparkle into the sunbeams as cheerfully as ever. A little gurgling sound
ascended to the young man’s window, and made him feel as if the fountain were an immortal spirit that sung its song
unceasingly and without heeding the vicissitudes around it." (628). Instead of his first human encounter being with a
devilish man with slithering snake on his staff, Giovanni met the beautiful Beatrice (614). Beatrice was as beautiful as the
devil was ugly. Giovanni glanced into the garden and "Soon there emerged from under a sculptured portal the figure of a
young girl, arrayed with as much richness of taste as the most splendid of flowers, beautiful as the day, and with a bloom so
deep and vivid that one shade more would have been too much. She looked redundant with life, health, and energy" (629).
In Rappacini’s Daughter instead of beauty equaling faith, it equals the Devil, or the evil that Beatrice really represented.
This is not as clear cut as Young Goodman Brown. There in order to "be with the devil" you had to go searching for him/her.
In Rappacini’s Daughter, however, the Devil came to Giovanni. Furthermore he came in the form of a beautiful woman...a
frightening concept.

Young Goodman Brown is told in the first person narrative. It is therefore from one persons point of view. It is a warning of
what could happen to you if you stray from probity, and your moral ideals. All the decisions were clearly made by Brown
himself, and his plight can be avoided. Rappacini’s Daughter, however, is told in the a third person narrative. It is not
from one person’s point of view, it is a universal problem which has consequences for the entire human race. The devil does
not always look as he is supposed to, and is not