NathanielHawthorns story of the young Goodman Brown, the characters strugglecan be analyzed through the Freudians theory of ego, id and superego. Thecharacter Goodman Brown is a representation of id as is seen when hestruggles with the decision to go on the journey in the forest or toremain with his wife for the night. This brings out the id in that hedecides to fulfill his urge and is not convinced against it. For him,he is scared believing that his wife might have had a dream about itbringing to for Freud’s theory of dream analysis. Brown weighsbetween his unconscious self if he should venture into this trip butdecides he has to. What he is not aware is that this journey he isabout to venture into is going to be one of self-discovery ratherthan one of conviction to join the congregation and his ego and superego will be displayed.
From the beginning, thetraveler starts with the fight between his desires and theexpectations of the society. The battle is more of ego in that hedoes not want to leave but he decides to give in to the thought hehas concerning community expectations. He suspends his immediatedesires for future and staying with his wife and following his dressto heaven and opts for the journey to satisfy his ego. He is ready tothrow away the moment with the hope of coming back and reliving thetime.
In the forest, Goodman meetsthe man, old Goodman Brown, who was to accompany him on his journey.The resemblance is also seen in the attire resemblance. The battlewithin him again comes out and the young brown questions his trip. Hespeaks out to his partner in crime, which is supposed to act as anassurance, but it does not. The battle between societal expectationsand his desire is seen. Ego is what gives this battle its theme.Society expects him to act in a given way and he acting differentlyhas him guilty and scared. Ego is further seen given he was made tobelieve his father and grandfather had been loyal in their religionbut he discovers they were not and this has him wondering. In Freud’sprincipalities, what one is taught at childhood has a way ofinfluencing one`s character in adulthood and Browns belief in hisparents’ religion had him religious to his adult life. Super go hashim remember these values incorporated on him by his parents. Hissuper ego questions if religion does exist and if indeed the religionwas being followed. He comes to realize that the religion that isbeing followed is based on lies. With these doubts, Goodman decidesnot to venture on the journey but is lost in the forest. In thewoods, he loses it and to him, he believes the forest are talking tohim and laughing at him. At this point, he is lost in his unconsciousworld and is fighting his mind. Doubts about his religion have had aneffect on him that he now is fighting himself trying to discover ifwhat to believe in between the societal believes or what hisconscious tells him (Hawthorne).
Dream analysis as a subject ofpsychoanalysis exists in this story. is lost inhis sleep where he finishes his journey with his beloved wife. Hisego is seen in his unconscious desire. His desire would have been toventure out with the wife, but this was detached from his consciousego which was to leave her and venture out alone. Still a battle ofconscious, the journeyman can access the inanimate matter andcontinuation into his journey. His dreams reveal to him more to theself-discovery mission that he had not seen in his consciousness. Inhis dream, he interacts with his wife who is about to join an evilsect. This sect is part of their community, and in the dream, itseems that every individual is part of the cult. The vision helps tostrengthen the discovery that he had made in the forest of seeingmany people head in the same direction that he was heading. In theend, the discoveries that Goodman makes are a self-revelation. Herealizes the evil that is in the society that he was living in andthe evil that was both the priests and community. He even recognizesthe works of his wife, and on returning home, he ignores hergreeting. This action shows his self-realization. His psych has himfighting the urge to join the cult, and he steps forwards towardsjoining when the call is made by his fellow traveler (Boundless,2016).
Though after the dream he isnot in a position to tell if it was a dream or not, his psyche hasbeen affected. His eyes have been exposed to the desires of the townpeople, and he has realized that their actions are a cover up oftheir evil doings. Through this ordeal, Brown loses in that he hasbeen left hollow. He no longer can interact with the town people andeven ignores greeting from his wife. Being religious and a believer,young Goodman Brown loses the faith he had in his leaders. Theleaders are evil, and he even questions the God they worship. Theyoung seeker ends up losing his marriage and his future family.
After the journey, he ignoresher greeting showing he had lost faith in his wife. He also loses therespect he had for his father and grandfather given he had grownknowing they had been faithful to the end. Brown also gains in thesame measure in that he ends up strengthening his faith. He discovershimself and realizes the best way is to be faithful to his religion. also gets to uncover the evils of society and thethings that happen in secret (Gabbard, Williams, and Litowitz p.4).He chooses to isolate himself instead of confronting the vices thathe has seen in the town. Given his parents were also lost in thevices seems to be more reason why Brown sinks more into hispsychosis. The Freudian theory is seen in the story given thestruggles the main character is fighting, the actions of the townpeople and what he believed society expected from them. The conflicthelps to explain his losses and the reason for his isolation afterhis self-discovery.
Boundless.Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality. 8 5 2016. Accessed 211 2016.
Gabbard,Glen, Paul Williams, and Bonnie Litowitz. Psychoanalytic. Washington:American Psychiatric Publishing, 2011.
Hawthorne,Nathaniel. From Moses from an Old Manse. Accessed 02 11 2016.