Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne Analysis

  • Category: Books, Literature,
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 383
  • Published: 07 April 2021
  • Copied: 107


Xun Zuang once said, “Human nature is evil, and goodness is caused by intentional activity.” Not all human beings are evil, but that is a decision one has to make. Humans are born with a sinful nature, and morality is taught as one grows up. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown,” the main theme is that “evil is the nature of mankind.” Hawthorne’s theme is supported by John Calvin’s belief in total depravity. Total depravity is the belief that all human beings are sinful and are born with an inherent sin-nature. With this said, I agree that “evil is the nature of mankind;” however, one can choose whether they are good or evil.

The first example of total depravity is when Hawthrone says that “Goodman Brown felt himself justified in making more haste on his present evil purpose” (292). In his sinful nature, he decides to deceive his wife and go to the forest and flirt with the devil. Another example is when the author says, “the devil himself should be at my very elbow” (293). Goodman Brown has a choice to make and he chose to continue and follow the devil. The decisions one makes determine whether one stays evil or tries to be a better person. 

The second examples come from Xun Zuang’s book, “Xunzi.” Zuang states that “When
 a
 person
 desires
 to
 do
 good
 he 
always
 does 
so 
because 
his 
nature 
is
 evil.” If a person’s nature is not evil, then they should not feel the need to try to be good because whatever one lacks is what he must seek. Since human beings are all inherently evil, “one
 must
 be
 transformed
 by
 the
 example
 of
 a
 teacher
 and
 be guided.” One must have the example of a teacher to become good.

Thirdly, the Bible has a major say about sinful nature. In Genesis chapter 3 is where I believe we get our sinful nature. Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree; therefore, condemning human beings to be born in sin. 1 John 1:8 says, “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” The Bible says that we are all sinners and the only way to save ourselves from sin is through God.

In conclusion, all human beings are evil by nature but they do not have to live this way. People have the ability to chose if they will stay evil or try to be good.