Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

“Young Goodman Brown” (Short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, 19th century)

 Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

Short Stories: “Young Goodman Brown”

I can’t believe I was so scared to read these. Having heard the gentle complaints of some of my classmates in lit.class, also remembering my own reading habits – how important it is for me that the author keeps things exciting – I was opening this short story collection with dread. I mean, “The Scarlett Letter” was one thing, but . . . I’ve always loved novels more than short stories anyway. I first read some of what other authors said about him – some flowery praise that made me yawn. And then, finally I got to the stories and – wow.

Or, have I become a total geek??? 🙂

In “Young Goodman Brown” we meet a devil – and I LOVE stories with the devil in them! 🙂 (Check out Mikhail Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita” for the BEST devil story EVER!!!) I loved the dark forest, and the incredible sense of dread, the deeper poor young Goodman went into the woods. The dark story clearly pokes fun at all the clergy and other “righteous” Puritans, suggesting that some of them might not be so righteous after all. On the other hand, it’s the story about the lack of faith – not so much faith in God, but faith in the goodness of people. The moral of the story (told very gently, by the way, no preaching!) was this:  though some of your suspicions might be true, suspect everybody for being evil, and you’ll just end up painting your own life black.

Our professor warned us that some people may love books, but not literature. “Do you understand what I’m saying?” she asked the class, and my heart sank because I was afraid that I did – understand. I’ve been reading so much modern stuff lately. And yet, I drank Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story up like a glass of beautifully aged wine and found it subtly dangerous, rich and exquisite.


February 3, 2010 - Posted by | Book Impressions

1 Comment »

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