Lit and Place Response #4 “Young Goodman Brown”

In Yi-Fu Tuan’s chapter, “Mythical Space and Place,” he gradually discerns the difference between “myth” and “reality.” He states in his opening paragraph, “Myth is often contrasted with reality. Myths flourish in the absence of precise knowledge (Tuan 85).” An individuals fear, or the term in general, can act as a focal point in Tuan’s discussion of “myth vs. reality.” Fear can often be confused with myth, because fear is defined as; a subjective notion, that may defy reality.

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, “Young Goodman Brown,” Goodman brown succumbed to his fears. He believed that all of the townspeople had in fact turned their backs on the righteous and embarked on the route of evil. He assumed this “belief” because of the alleged encounter, or dream, he had the night before. His fear of everyone else’s wickedness reaching him, negatively affected his subconscious. He began to believe in myth, or a “skewed view on reality,” rather then justifying his viewpoint based on mere facts.

Myth, as well as fear, can easily obstruct ideals. A common example would be to say; one fears to go on an airplane because of the possibility of death, but would drive in an automobile instead, because there is less of a chance of injury. This is clearly not the case statistically, while facts show that automobile accidents are substantially more prevalent than airplane related instances. This is a common example of someone giving into their fears, and not looking at reality with a realistic point of view.

Young Goodman Brown believed that everyone was ill hearted merely because of his strong moral stance on “good vs. evil.” Being that he is a religious man, who seems rather adolescent, or naïve, his moral values hindered his mentality, allowing for his fears (Mythical beliefs) to forcefully grasp his subconscious.

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