Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1835)

4 posts

Niccolo and Donkey
Byssus ginger Mike CLAMOR Asterion Aldous Randall McMurphy SteamshipTime


I have uploaded a .pdf of this short story. Please see the attachment below.

Also, here is a link for those who do not wish to download the .pdf file.
Okay Nic, some cliffs from that story, although I wasn't paying much attention: A young man goes out on some evil errand, escorted by what I assume is Satan. He eventually changes his mind, and refuses to go further with the devil. The devil assures him that all men are evil, and that the people he reveres as virtuous are all rotten to the core. Some stuff happens, and he ends up coming upon a ceremony in the woods, and the righteous of the community commune with the more sinful members, and they all confess together the evil things they've all done, and that evil has triumphed and virtue is an illusion. The protagonists wife is there as well, who he regards as being exceedingly innocent. He "wakes up" later, unsure if what he saw was real. The rest of his days are dark, as he looks with suspicion at all others, including the pastors and deacons. The final line: "And when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave a hoary corpse, followed by Faith, an aged woman, and children and grandchildren, a goodly procession, besides neighbors not a few, they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom."​
Randall McMurphy

Is it really as a long a jump from "everyone is corrupt" let alone a Satan worshiper, to Holden Caulfield, who missed his perfect dead sister, pointing out, everyone is a phony?

It's the counter narrative, a very American strain, that Hawthorne presented for an audience we descend from.

Randall McMurphy

Robert Burns, Tam o'Shanter, (needless to say, ahem...catcher in the rye) was clearly an influence on Hawthorne:

(posting a selection from the translated version)

Warlocks and witches in a dance:
No cotillion, brand new from France,
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels.
In a window alcove in the east,
There sat Old Nick, in shape of beast;
A shaggy dog, black, grim, and large,
To give them music was his charge:
He screwed the pipes and made them squeal,
Till roof and rafters all did ring.
Coffins stood round, like open presses,
That showed the dead in their last dresses;
And, by some devilish magic sleight,
Each in its cold hand held a light:
By which heroic Tom was able
To note upon the holy table,
A murderer’s bones, in gibbet-irons;
Two span-long, small, unchristened babies;
A thief just cut from his hanging rope -
With his last gasp his mouth did gape;
Five tomahawks with blood red-rusted;
Five scimitars with murder crusted;
A garter with which a baby had strangled;
A knife a father’s throat had mangled -
Whom his own son of life bereft -
The grey-hairs yet stack to the shaft;
With more o' horrible and awful,
Which even to name would be unlawful.
Three Lawyers’ tongues, turned inside out,
Sown with lies like a beggar’s cloth -
Three Priests’ hearts, rotten, black as muck
Lay stinking, vile, in every nook.