English 220

Grant T. Smith, Ph. D.

Discussion Questions for “Young Goodman Brown”



ü      Is the story a “rite of passage” for Brown?  If so, then how do the characters contribute to his psychological, moral and social passage?

ü      What is the roll of Faith in the story?

ü      Look carefully at how Hawthorne uses symbolism in the story.  How do the symbols reveal to the read the real significance of Brown’s experience?

ü      Young Goodman Brown deals primarily with the idea of secret sin.  Explain why secret sin is so much more heinous than just the concept of sinning according to Hawthorne’s moral beliefs.

ü      Brown experiences both horror and terror when he arrives at his destination.  Give specific examples of each, quoting the precise passage.  Explain what kind of horror or terror is evoked, and on what level it operates (i.e., psychological, physical, moral, religious).

ü      There are many levels of evil in “Young Goodman Brown.”  Find examples of the following and cite the passages which support your view:  social, moral, psychological, religious

ü      How does Hawthorne use the following stylistic devices to make his point about man.  (What is that point?):  symbols, inverted symbols, foreshadowing, irony, ambiguity.