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Using Source Criticism to Teach “Young Goodman Brown”

The purpose of this assignment is to show you how you can work what you learned in this class in your broader teaching. In my own teaching, I have come to use Source Criticism in my analysis and teaching of “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I also use Source Criticism to try to unravel an interpretive mystery that has dogged Hawthorne scholarship since 1956. Earlier scholars had disagreed about many aspects of the story, but they all at least agreed that by the end of the story, Brown had lost his Christian faith. Then Thomas E. Connolly threw a clod in the punch bowl of scholarship by pointing out that the story is an allegory, that on the literal level Brown remains married to Faith on the literal level, and that therefore he retained his Christian faith on the symbolic level. His argument is so convincing that do scholar since has disputed it. But that raises a new question: Then what is wrong with Brown when he returns from the forest? Based on my reading of the story, and my analysis of Hawthorne's possible sources, I believe that Brown retains his faith, but it has been permanently damaged by his experience in the woods.

Period 1 Assignment


Period 2 Assignment

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