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Paper Topic:

Argument about Hawthorne`s essay: Young Goodman Brown

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17 July 2006

A Discussion of Paulits "Ambivalence in 'Young Goodman Brown

In "Ambivalence in 'Young Goodman Brown " Walter J . Paulits offers a "discussion of ambivalence and of its concomitants of temptation and deception " His reason for doing this is to provide "the still-missing clue to the interpretation of the intent " of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's short story "Young Goodman Brown (Paulits 577 . Presumably Paulits believes that previous attempts to interpret Hawthorne 's story have been unsatisfactory and that his article will

correct this deficiency

Paulits begins his article by distinguishing between "ambiguity " and "ambivalence " presumably because he fears the reader might assume a similarity and misunderstand his article "Ambiguity is concerned with intermingled meanings " while "Ambivalence is concerned with opposed feelings when confronted with a value or values (Paulits 277 . He argues that "Young Goodman Brown " is an allegorically presentation of ambivalence . Accordingly Paulits believes that Hawthorne has written this story with the intention of revealing something to the reader about human ambivalence toward good and evil per se

As the story begins Young Goodman Brown feels ambivalent between meeting with the devil and leaving his wife Faith . Although Paulits does not mention this it is interesting to note the lack of an explanation of what has occasioned the need for Young Goodman Brown to meet with the devil at all , much less on this particular night . One wonders whether Hawthorne 's failure to include this explanation in his story if Hawthorne indicates a belief that all humans will be required to meet with the devil at sometime in his life so the specifics of what caused this confrontation are immaterial . Despite this ambivalence , Paulits continues , it is clear that Young Goodman Brown feels ambivalence , but chooses to meet with the devil for whatever reason . Paulits writes that the reason for the ambivalence is that Young Goodman Brown wants both Faith and wants to meet with the devil . He concludes that meeting with the devil is due to temptation . Young Goodman Brown "has scruples " about meeting with the devil buy unconsciously accompanies him into the forest (Paulits 578-9

During the walk Brown sees or at least is deceived so that he thinks he sees many people who have played a role in his religious life : the woman who taught him catechism , the deacon , and the minister from the church in Salem . The devil reveals that he knows them all and similar people throughout New England he also reveals that they know him . Paulits describes this as an example of the argument that everyone has done similar things . In this case this "everyone " includes his relatives and spiritual teachers but not yet his wife (Paulits 579

As the story progress Young Goodman Brown performs specific acts that Paulits writes that these actions are parallels of the three temptations of Jesus in the desert (Paulits 579-80 . First Young Goodman Brown stops and declares that he will go no further "What if a wretched...

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