Study Guide
Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown"

Use your initial reading of the work to get your general bearings in it. 

Do not read further in this Study Guide until you have completed your first reading of the work.

In your second reading, focus on the internal structure of the story.

(1) The overall structure, of course, is narrative.  Using an erasable pencil, indicate in the margins of the texts the way you would outline the story:  what important divisions and sub-divisions do you notice?  Where do you locate the chief turning points?

(2) In certain smaller patches, the structure is basically descriptive.  Can you locate one of these?  What particular principles govern its internal organization?

(3) At a couple of places in the story we find one or another character saying something that exhibits discursive structure.  (That is:  they are organized as exposition or argument.)  Point out one of these, and distinguish the elements of which it is composed.  What are the relationships among these elements that make for discursive organization?

Do not read further in this Study Guide until you have completed your second reading of the work.

In your third reading, 

(4) Compile a list of things, actions and events in this story that strike you as possibly having symbolic significance.  For 3 of them, take a stab at formulating what they seem to represent?  What features of them in the narrative qualify them to represent this?

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   Contents copyright 2000 by Lyman A. Baker

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  This page last updated 02 May 2003.