In this time and age, people have become accustomed to disappointment and disillusionment from the figures that instill purpose and values into their lives. Be it Clinton's parade of sex, lies and who knows maybe videotape to priests who enjoy the inappropriate company of young boys. People are jaded. This is not true of Nathaniel Hawthorn's time. The people of that era had absolute faith and trust in their public figures. This sentiment increased exponentially when speaking of the clergy or church-related officials. In "Young Goodman Brown", Hawthorne looks at one man's decent into the murky woods of doubt and illusion of uprightness. In the story, "Young Goodman Brown", Hawthorne shows a man who questions the backbone, which his community is assumedly built upon. .
As the story begins, Goodman Brown, a Puritan, is leaving his house around sunset. His wife, Faith, is trying to persuade him to depart at sunrise instead. His journey is to take him away for the night and he is to return at sunrise. He has a feeling of guilt for leaving her alone after being married to her for a mere three months, but he justifies his journey by swearing that after this night, he will "cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven"(164). Brown's wife Faith symbolizes his real faith in God and his journey into the darkness of the Salem woods is a symbol of evil and question of faith. Goodman Brown is about to begin his struggle between the evil temptations of the devil, and the church abiding life he knows as reality. He will challenge his faith in himself and the community in which he resides. He must venture into the local forest where puritans believe the devil resides, refuse the temptations of the devil, and return to the village before sunrise. After going into the woods and testing his faith, Goodman Brown sees his community as it truly is instead of the illusion he once knew as reality.