Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter –Author –Born –Works –Inspiration for Work –Nathaniel Hawthorne –Salem, Massachusetts, 1804

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  • Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • The Scarlet LetterAuthor



    Inspiration for Work

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Salem, Massachusetts, 1804

    Hawthorne is most famously know for this novel, The Scarlet Letter

    Related to John Hawthorne, a judge for the 1692 Salem Witch Trials

    Hawthorne was enamored with his relatives involvement in the trial and with Puritan culture as a whole

  • Background Information: Puritan Culture

    A majority of Hawthornes works focused on Americas Puritan forefathers

    The Puritans were a group of religious zealots who came to America in the 1630s to practice their religious beliefs freely

  • Background Information: Puritan Culture

    Puritans were supposed to be solely focused on their relationship with the Lord

    Their people has little tolerance for ideas or any behavior that differed from what they considered the norm

    Any behaviors that were not done with God in mind were considered amoral.

  • General InformationGeneral InformationYoung Goodman BrownYoung Goodman Brown is one of the greatest short stories in American literature.

    The story was published in 1835.

  • General InformationGeneral InformationYoung Goodman BrownStory takes place in the second half of the seventeenth century in Salem, Massachusetts

    Salem was a theocracy in which the Christian moral law ruled all

  • General InformationGeneral InformationYoung Goodman BrownYoung Goodman Brown takes place around the time of the Salem witch trials, held in the spring and autumn of 1692.

    During these infamous trials, twenty innocent women and men were found guilty of witchcraft and executed.

  • Transcendentalist Influence

    Became a part of a highly intellectual group that included Ralph Waldo EmersonTranscendentalists tried to become one with nature and abandon the evils of society True happiness and feeling of self could only come through embracing their own individual thoughts and feelings

    Literary Focus

  • Literary FocusLiterary FocusAllegoryAn allegory is the representation of ideas through symbolic characters, figures, or events in a story

    YGB can be read as an allegory centering on the temptation everyone faces and on the human tendency to prejudge others.

  • Literary FocusLiterary FocusSymbolsThe Forest as Eden Goodman Brown appears to represent human beings confronted with temptationThe forest also represents danger, confusion, the unknown, sin, and death

  • Literary FocusLiterary FocusSymbols, ContinuedFaith Goodman Brown's wife named Faith symbolizes Brown's spiritual faith. When she is in danger he realizes he is in danger of losing not only his wife but also his spiritual faith

  • Themes and FocusThemes and FocusFemale Purity

    The Fear of the Wilderness

    The Inevitable Loss of Innocence

    The Weakness of Public Morality

    Virtue vs. Sin

    Corruption and Temptation

    Suspicion and Distrust

  • Summary and Plot OverviewSummary and Plot OverviewGoodman Brown leaves his home and Faith, his wife of three months, to meet with a mysterious figure deep in the forest.It is hinted that Goodman Brown's traveling companion is, in fact, the Devil, and that the purpose of their journey is to join in an unspecified but obviously unholy ritual.

  • Summary and Plot OverviewSummary and Plot OverviewAs their journey continues Brown discovers others also proceeding to the meeting, many of them his townsfolk whom he had considered moral beacons.He resolves to leave his mysterious partner and abandon the meeting, but his faith continues to waver

  • Character AnalysisCharacter AnalysisGoodman Brown: Recently married Puritan who lives in Salem in the 1600'sHe believes in the goodness of the townspeople, but has these beliefs tested His name Goodman is not coincidence. He is representative of those people thought to be good men.Faith: Goodman Browns wife.The Devil Figure: Mysterious man who meets Goodman Brown in the forestHe accompanies him part way to a witches sabbath, where Brown is to be inducted into an evil brotherhood.