Young Goodman Brown

Retelling

‘Little Salem Village’

Today is the day. I take the people of this Salem village and convert them, and expel the ‘love of god’ out of them. This may not be a simple task, since this village is heavily religious, but everyone is capable of being corrupt. This could be proved by the amount of people I already converted. Getting the ones with the weakest faith in god was definitely a good start. Have them attend my gatherings, go back to their village and help manipulate the citizens, making them easier to catch for me when the time comes. If I could maintain this cycle, the people of Salem will be under my arms, and most importantly, my control.

Now, I was on my way to the gathering in the middle of the forest. Then I laid my eyes upon this young lady with a knotted pink ribbon tying her hair, frightened out of her skin. I try to remember if I ever saw this one in the Salem town I found the others, but I can’t recall. I observe her from my hiding spot to hear what she is talking about to herself.

“A dear God, please let him be safe.” she said to herself. “Why did I ever let him out of my hands and make him go in to these dreadful woods? If only a persuaded him more vigorously…”

Who is this man she speaks of? I haven’t encountered anyone in my journey yet. I need to know. When she approached the tree I was stealthy waiting behind, I approach her with a greeting:

“Hello, you seem to be los-”

“AAHHHH” she screamed, as she back peddled, tripping over a tree branch and falling on the ground. Little did she know, she wasn’t alone after all. She’s lonely, afraid and helpless. This will be easier than I thought.

“Oh, Im so sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you, ma’am.”

“Get away from me!” she said. “Who are you?!? and-and why are you following me???”

“Im sorry to have startled you ma’am. If there is anything I could do to help you, I’ll gladly give you a helping hand. Here, let me help you up.” As I extend my hand she starts to crawl back, avoiding me.

“Im looking for my husband. Have you seen him?”

“Can’t say I have. I’ve been traveling alone for a couple hours. What does he look like?”

“He’s a-” she paused and started reading me, trying to figure me out.

“Here, let me help you”

I extend my staff to her so she could get up. Not knowing what powers I possess in my priceless staff, she grabs on and her demeanor, her trust towards me changed.

“Wh-why thank you for helping me, sir.”

“No problem at all. So, you never told me why you’re in this dreadful forest ”

“Well I trying to look for my husband, Mr. Goodman Brown. You and him kinda look alike.”

As we walk side to side, I tell her where this gathering is, and I part ways with young Faith, with her pink ribbon which now has a bit of dirt on it when she fell during our run-in.

I see a figure walking alone. This has to be him. Mr. Goodman Brown. I sneak towards him to hear what he’s muttering to himself.

“-leaving her like this. She tells me she’s afraid and I run off it to this forest? Leaving her to her nightmares? Maybe I sho-.”

He stops walking and looks around him. I know he can’t see me, but it seems like he feels my existence.

“I feel there is evil hidden within these woods. For all I know, an evil presence may be upon me right now.”

He feverishly looks behind him every couple steps, until I present myself as another lonely traveler. If his loved one was as easy to convert, he will be in my hands in no time. If I somehow fail, I guarantee, his experience with me will stay with him for the rest of his life…

 

Essay

The point of view that the story is being told in is a major part of how the story flows and how the author wants their messages to be presented.  A tale told in third person has a perspective from an outside source that has no part in the story.  First person narrative has a character that’s apart of the story telling it from their perspective, with it being from the protagonist or someone observing actions of the protagonist. I will be comparing the narrative of ‘Young Goodman Brown’ and my retelling of the story named ‘Little Salem Village’.  Although ‘Young Goodman Brown’’s  third person limited narrator conveys Goodman Browns emotions throughout the story and a perplexing ending,  this retelling uses a first person narrator to highlight the antagonist’s intentions and how they went on to accomplish them.

In ‘Young Goodman Brown’ the story is told in third person limited with the protagonist being Goodman Brown. We follow Brown as he journeys through the woods for unknown reasons. He leaves behind his wife, Faith, even though she admitted she didn’t want him to go and confessed to having bad dreams lately. While walking in the woods, he meets a man and throughout the story, he observes his demon like actions.  The story concludes with Brown going through life in fear unable to trust anyone even his wife until his inevitable death, leaving the reader wondering if everything he experienced actually happened, or if it was a nightmare.

In my retelling, the story is told in first person with an autodiegetic narrator. The narrator is the old man that traveled with Goodman Brown through the woods. He is thinking to himself, recollecting the actions he had done to the villagers of Salem and plans of a ‘witch meeting’. He meets Faith and converses with her until he was able to possess her. The story ends where the original story kinda began, with the old man meeting Goodman Brown in the woods.

Third person limited and first person autodiegetic points of view both have access to the protagonist emotions they are going through. Since this was the case, I wanted to retell the story through someone else’s perspective, giving the reader access to both Goodman Brown in the original story and the old man’s head in my retelling. One instance where Hawthorne displays Brown’s emotion to a situation was when I was alone in the woods, thinking an evil omen was with him. This is also before he sees a figure in the distance that ended up being the old man: “”There may be a devilish Indian behind every tree,” said Goodman Brown to himself; and he glanced fearfully behind him, as he added, “What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow!”” In my retelling, I assumed the old man was following Brown before the final met face-to-face. When the old man observed Brown, he showed similar features as in the original story: “He feverishly looks behind him every couple steps, until I present myself as another lonely traveler.”

Hawthorne ends their story in a way that leaves the reader invested in the story after reading it by having them question whether Brown’s whole experience was a real or a dream.“Be it so, if you will. But, alas! it was a dream of evil omen for young Goodman Brown. A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man, did he become, from the night of that fearful dream. On the Sabbath-day, when the congregation were singing a holy psalm, he could not listen, because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear, and drowned all the blessed strain. When the minister spoke from the pulpit…and with his hand on the open Bible, of the sacred truths of our religion…then did Goodman Brown turn pale, dreading lest the roof should thunder down upon the gray blasphemer and his hearers. Awaking suddenly at midnight, he shrank from the bosom of Faith…when the family knelt down at prayer, he scowled…and gazed sternly at his wife, and turned away. And when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave…” I assumed since the narrator never disclosed to the reader why Brown was going in the woods, it’s even more difficult to think if it were real or fictional. I find this an advantages to third person limited because it leaves the ending to the mind of the audience, forcing them to analyze the story after reading it. If the original story were told in first person through Goodman’s perspective, I believe the mystery conclusion to the story wouldn’t be present. In my retelling, I tried to do the same thing and leave an open ending, but I found it difficult to do with a first person narrator. “If I somehow fail, I guarantee, his experience with me will stay with him for the rest of his life…” Here, I tried to allude if the old man was actually an evil figure or just a figment of Brown’s imagination that haunts him in his dreams.

In conclusion, these two points of views have their advantages and disadvantages. It all depends on what the author wants to show and how they want their message it be delivered to their audience.

 

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