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CRITICAL ESSAY ON Young Goodman Brown

             I have chosen Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne, because firstly I had already read The Scarlet Letter, and I liked it very much; and secondly, because it maintains the same underlying moral conflict of the novel. The main difference is that the moral conflict is now much more personal for the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, than the one of The Scarlet Letter.
             Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1804. His family descended from the earliest settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Puritan congregation arrived from England. One of his great grandfathers was John Hathorne (Hawthorne added the "w" to his name when he began to write), one of the judges at the 1692 Salem witch trials. Hawthorne was both fascinated and disturbed by his family relationship with John Hawthorne. His father was a sea captain that died when the young Nathaniel was four years old. Hawthorne grew up in seclusion with his widowed mother Elizabeth, in the hard puritan society. In this oppressive ambient, Hawthorne probably spent much time in solitary reading, which made of him a young boy interested in writing. His live with his mother was very monotonous and sad, and he even wrote once to his friend Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: "I have locked myself in a dungeon and I can't find the key to get out.".
             When he finished his studies, he started to work as a writer and contributor to newspapers. Then, he published his first novel Fanshawe in 1828. Later on, he tried to publish a collection of short stories about New England, in which it is included "Young Goodman Brown": His first effort, Seven Tales of My Native Land, seems to have gone into the fire because nobody wanted to publish it. Then he tried to change its name for Provincial Tales, and later to The Story Teller. This final attempt to bring out a corpus of New England stories also failed. The collection contained the following short stories: My Kinsman, Major Moulineux, Young Goodman Brown, The Maypole of Merry Mount, The Gray Champion, Legends of the Province House, Howe's Masquerade and Lady Elinore's Mantle.

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