Explain how Hawthorne’s dark romanticist message is reflected in the allegory and in Hawthorne’s description of Goodman Brown’s uncertain perceptions at certain points in the story.
Henry David Thoreau’s positive, transcendentalist view of human nature in Walden contrasts sharply with Nathaniel
Hawthorne’s perspective. In the chapter “Where I Lived and What I Lived for,” Thoreau discusses humankind’s potential to become fully “awake,” describing the moral, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of being awake in a long passage that associates it with morning, and later suggesting practical benefits in his brief, punning comments on “sleepers.” Focusing upon the “morning” and the “sleeper” passages in the chapter (give discussion of each its own paragraph(s)), contrast Thoreau’s optimistic view of human nature and human possibilities with Hawthorne’s darker perspective in “Young Goodman Brown.”
The story allegorically reflects the features of dark romanticism, representing in its symbolism the tendencies of the so-called “good man” to think and act in ways that subvert his own happiness. Citing specifics, explain how Hawthorne’s dark romanticist message is reflected in the allegory and in Hawthorne’s description of Goodman Brown’s uncertain perceptions at certain points in the story.
In each section, you will make two critical points that reflect the focus above. Support each critical point with two direct quotations.