All posts by Nadine Morris-Baker


Durst is a verb.

According to Merriam Webster dictionary durst means:  Archaic and dialect past of dare.

In other words, durst is an old fashion way of saying dare.  It is also a way certain groups of people spoke depending on the social group they belonged to.

The word durst is used by Nathaniel Hawthorne on page six of the class handout entitled, “Young Goodman Brown.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, “Goodman Brown alternately crouched and stood on tip-toe, pulling aside the branches, and thrusting forth his head as far as he durst, without discerning a shadow.”

Goodman Brown was making his best effort to avoid being detected in the bushes by anyone passing.  At the same time he wanted to see who was passing.  He extended his head from the bushes as far as he thought would be appropriate for him to identify who is passing without them in turn seeing him.



Pious is an adjective.

According to Merriam Webster pious means:  Marked by conspicuous religiosity, a hypocrite.   Falsely appearing to be of good moral.

The word pious is used repeatedly by Nathaniel Hawthorne in the class handout of “Young Goodman Brown.”  On page six,  Hawthorne wrote, “Once, the listener fancied that he could distinguish the accents of town’s-people of his own, men and women, born pious and ungodly….”   Also, on page eight, Hawthorne wrote about Deakon Gookin waiting  for his reverend pastor and stated, “But, irreverently consorting with these grave, reputable, and pious people.”

Goodman Brown could not at first believe he correctly recognized the voices he overheard.   These were people from his church, people whom he did holy communion with.  He could not understand why they professed to be godly but still gathered with people of bad character, some of whom were even criminals to be a part of this demonic event.    The presence of the pastor and his deacon  indicated to Goodman Brown the level of hypocrisy he was witnessing.  He did not understand why the reverend pastor, a member of the clergy and his deacon did not see how ungodly this event was and rebuke those assembled.