Brown’s Character in Young Good Brown
Nathaniel Hawthorne in his short story, Young Good Brown offers his audience varied contexts by manipulating his characters. The story features scientific, religious, societal, religious historical and biographical contexts. It is through the biographical aspect of the story that Hawthorne develops the character of the protagonist, Goodman Brown, who exhibits controversial traits. Goodman Brown does not live to the level of a normal human being. Based on his life’s experiences, beliefs and emotions Brown can be said to be suffering from Schizotypal personality disorder. The condition, “comprises three factors: “cognitive-perceptual’ (odd beliefs, perceptual disturbances, idea of reference, suspiciousness), ‘interpersonal’ (lack of close friendships, social anxiety, restricted affect), and ‘disorganized/oddness’ (odd speech/thought, odd behavior, and restricted affect” (Gawda, Bernacka and Gawda 5). Brown’s beliefs are not only questionable but also peculiar. His experiences are unusual and his emotions flat.From the kick off the story, Brown’s experiences are strange. The story opens up with Brown bidding goodbye to his wife for a night journey. He leaves without an explanation of his journey and only states that he must travel that night. Even though he sets off at night, he still uses a road through a dangerous forest. His experiences in the forest are abnormal, and one can hardly tell whether they are a reality or just a dream. He meets the people who have been leading the church whom he believes are pious. When he finds out that Deacon Gookin is also part of the ceremony he is attending, his faith in God is only dependent on his wife Faith. Unfortunately, Faith is also evil as her voice is also heard in the forest. Following the conversion of his wife, Brown does not believe in anyone in the village. The experiences of Brown are not realistic for an average man. They are torn between reality and fantasy.
Following the experiences in the forest, Brown firmly upholds the belief that all men in his village are evil. He believes in everything that he sees without rethinking whether it is true. Apparently, Brown’s experiences were in a dream. He journeys at night and it is not ascertained in the story that the journey is a reality. Sensibly, if his wife had seen him in the forest, she would have feared to see him again. Although he views all villagers as an evil creation, they do not appear to be ashamed of their actions. Deacon Gookin, for instance, still blesses Brown when he sees him. The sudden alteration of Brown’s belief system could be explained by the fact that there exists a relationship between human psychological behavior and faith. Due to the weird experiences, Brown is obviously not psychologically fit and links his dissatisfaction with faith. Brown’s behavior suggests considerable “individual variation in the relation between faith and psychological functioning” (Laurencelle, Abell and & David 1). Critically, Brown’s belief in the evil of human creation is baseless and unjustifiable.From the beginning of the story, Brown displays flat emotions towards other characters. Schizotypy is usually “associated with a variety of neurobiological characteristics associated with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, including abnormal brain and behavioral asymmetries” (Kelley 1). The brain functioning of Brown is questionable. When he is leaving his home, his wife, Faith, begs him to stay but he does not listen to her. Despite Faith feeling scared to spend a night all alone, Brown tells her “of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee” (Hawthorne 1). Similarly, when Brown returns to the village the following morning, he is inconsiderate of the villagers’ emotions. When the Deacon blesses him, he fails to accept the blessing. When he meets Faith, he refuses to greet her. Brown clearly does not care what the other characters will feel if he does not reciprocate the feelings that they have towards him.
Conclusively, it is evident from the story that Brown suffers from schizotypal personality disorder. He presents not only strange experiences but also banks baseless beliefs and acts insensitively to other characters’ emotions. Ideally, Brown is not a representative of everyman. He is too much undecided a fact which makes his personality to be swung often. Goodman Brown is not a character that humanity encounters every day.