Man is in eternal conflict with himself and with his surroundings because of the coexistence of good and evil both within and around him. It is therefore necessary for him to encounter these evil forces to be able to make a distinction between the good and the bad in order to recognize and resist the immoral. "Young Goodman Brown," a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is about the disillusionment of the story's protagonist, on encountering evil and discovering that evil is more prevalent than good in the world. Goodman Brown embarks on a metaphorical journey into the forest to encounter and resist the evil within himself while discovering his faith and asserting his identity.
Goodman Brown begins his journey into the realm of evil fully confident that he would emerge victorious in fending off evil. He believes that he would eventually go to heaven along with his angelic wife and says to himself "Well; she's a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night, I'll cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven" His faith in himself, in his beliefs and in his wife is so strong that he feels justified in undertaking this journey to encounter evil in the forest, blissfully unaware of the existence of evil in and around him. The compelling need for him to face his fear of the unknown, drives him to continue on this symbolic trip of awareness despite his slight apprehension. During the course of his journey his companion the devil offers Brown his snake like staff so that he would not be exhausted. Brown refuses to take the staff saying, "having kept covenant by meeting thee here, it is my purpose now to return whence I came. I have scruples, touching the matter thou wot'st of." These words and his reluctance to accept the staff indicate that Brown resists temptation by turning down the initial overtures of the devil. The devil further tries to entice him to join his rank by indicating to him that all the revered deacons and also Brown's ancestors are indeed the devil's companions.