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Evil: Destroying from within

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  1. Introduction
  2. The idea of every man being inherently both good and evil
  3. Poe's description of the settings
  4. Two spiritual mentors
  5. The main reason for Goodman Brown's strong resistance
  6. The tenor of the words
  7. The inherent qualities of man
  8. Conclusion
  9. Works cited

American literature in the nineteenth century was a journey in exploration of previously hidden aspects of the human psyche and this involved surpassing the boundaries of regular fiction to mystery and fantasy. Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe were pioneers in the subgenre of dark romanticism; the nature of their subgenre was pessimistic and the two authors presented individuals as imperfect and prone to sin and self-destruction. Poe?s works are characteristic in their exploring the psychology of man, including the deviant and self-destructive nature of the conscious and sub-conscious mind. Hawthorne, on the other hand, addresses as one of his common themes the inherent conflict between the good and evil in man. Poe?s ?Fall of the House of Usher? and Hawthorne?s ?Young Goodman Brown? both bear recurring themes of an intense manifestation of evil in the physical world while simultaneously intimating that this evil is simply a product of the human mind.

[...] She talks of dreams, too. Methought as she spoke there was trouble in her face, as if a dream had warned her what work is to be done tonight. But no, no; would kill her to think of it. Well, she's a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night I'll cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven (Hawthorne 134). His resolve to halt any such evil activities and stay by Faith's side for the rest of his life acts as a form of justification for him to be able to carry on with his ?present evil purpose? (Hawthorne 134). [...]

[...] He even goes to lengths to describe it as an evil, constitutional and a family evil? (Poe 154). A key and remarkable feature of his mental condition is that he is ?enchained by superstitious impressions? of the House of Usher, and he is strongly influenced by the ?form and substance of his family mansion? (Poe 155) in such a manner that it had practically ?obtained over his spirit? (Poe 155). The House of Usher has fundamentally affected the ?morale of his existence? (Poe 155). [...]

[...] The moment he thinks he hears Faith in the forest and in the presence of evil, his faith is shattered and he repeatedly cries out, (Hawthorne 140), to cling on to the ideals of faith and love that are rapidly slipping away from his grasp. It is highly likely that the remainder of his experience in the forest is a dream, and that he is simply imagining Faith's presence at the ceremony. A pink ribbon, possibly Faith's pink ribbon, lands in front of Goodman Brown and his faith is totally purged. [...]

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