Comparison and Contrast of Young Goodman Brown and Beneath an Umbrella

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Comparison and Contrast of Young Goodman Brown and Beneath an Umbrella


Stories become fruitful if they are able to bring out the intended message to the readers in a way that is clearly understood. Nathaniel Hawthorne is a writer that is seen as most successful in most of his books with the clear outline of the message that at times starts at the beginning and at times is seen quite at the middle or the end. In this paper, we have analyzed two of his main short stories; Young Goodman Brown and beneath an umbrella looking at his successes in the comparisons, contrasts and the literally styles used.


Nathaniel’s life can best be described as that which revolves around writing books with rich themes especially romanticism or generally dark romanticism. Therefore, in two of his famous short story, the theme of love will be encompassed as being portrayed in the stories. Other reviews have shown that the styles of writing that the writer uses are purity with a tone that is singular effective, wiled, thoughtful, plainful and that which his full of accordance with the portrayed themes. However, the two books (young Goodman brown and beneath an umbrella) have themes that are ranging from evil acts, depravity, hard life, joy and sorrows combined. This puts the writer as one who calculates what he intends to portray to his readers, and especially, he has a sense of hiding the message for the readers to unearth.

Young Goodman Brown

This story of 1835 by Nathaniel Hawthorne addresses Calvinist belief that humanity actually exists but in a state of depravity. This is brought out in a symbolic way that depicts a journey of a Young Goodman’s journey into some self-scrutiny but this instead of gratifying results to some loss of faith for everything that surrounds him.  In what is, looking like fantasy itself, the man hears the voice of his wife whom he had left behind in the forest seems to fly through the forest and finds the entire town people assembled. This is strange and contravenes to his popular belief of people who are pure and actually, he and his faith are the only people who have not been initiated into the forest rite. From this story, we find literal styles such as allegory when he depicts evil and depravity as the way of humanity, some colloquial expressions, specific diction and dreamlike sequence.

Beneath an Umbrella

As Waggoner (29) notes, this book opens with a description of pleasant and seems to agree that it is a rainy winter’s day, within doors. From here, we get the description that the book tries to explain the condition of the world that is outside the chamber window on which makes the exercise of unrestrained fancy, delightful and full of contrasts. However, reality then checks in and it is total contrast of what was before where Hawthorne (2) writes, “The rain-drops will occasionally be heard to patter against my window panes…” he tries to give a few of the misgiving about human beings as people who are representing the world all over. What is found in these people can best describe how the world is, that is, sometimes fulfilling with other times being best described as real hell. This is seen in what Waggoner (29) writes, “contrast the warmth and cheerfulness of my deserted fireside with the drear obscurity and chill discomfort.”

Comparison between the two Short Stories

The two books are full of dilemma where, in the short story Young Goodman Brown, the young man is presented with a situation that he clobbers and that is completely new to him. He has a life that is difficult to contemplate as finding his dear wife in a form of cult in a way that he had not imagined. In fact, it remains that evil is the only left thing for him as Hawthorne (33) quotes; “Evil must be your only happiness. Welcome again, my children, to the communion of your race.” We find the same kind of analysis in the short story beneath an umbrella, where the life is full of surprises and it is not really clearer of where the human beings live. As we had noted earlier, the kind of pleasant that is presented in the story depicting of this earth is that which has ups and downs, where, at times, there are good times for the human beings while in other times, there are lots of bad things. The best depiction for this is rain that sometimes comes with goodness and at other times, it comes with badness.

In the two short stories, what is being brought out to the limelight is how human beings live, especially living without knowing themselves really. In the two, we see a kind of world that is full of surprises and where, we find ourselves in situations that clobber us hard in a way that we had not expected at all. In the story beneath an umbrella, Hawthorne (24) quotes, “Onward I go, deriving a sympathetic joy or sorrow from the varied aspect of mortal affairs, even as my figure catches a gleam from the lighted windows, or is blackened by an interval of darkness.” This is clear of how life is where in some instances, it is light and in other, it is purely darkened.


Even though, there are some contrast that is noted in the two short stories and this is how the themes and baseline ideas are brought out. In the short story beneath an umbrella, the ideas are brought out in many characters, and it is in their combination that one is able to derive the hidden meaning as envisaged by the writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. On the other hand, the story Young Goodman Brown is about a young man who leaves behind his wife for a journey hoping to return. Initially, he knew about the world he was living little, but on the encounter of the devil himself, he comes to his senses what is found in this world is painted and not represent the true colors. For example, finding his dear wife in the congregation in the forest plus the woman governor was astonishing to him and this just reveals a lot which he knew little. This is shown in a single man who finds the world for himself rather than being told.

Literal Styles in the Short Stories

The ideas in these two short stories are best represented by the literal styles that are used by the writer. For example, allegory, themes and colloquial expressions. Starting with the themes, there is high use of this by the writer perhaps to depict the situations that were shown out. One of the themes that is present in the two is tension, where, in the story Young Goodman Brown, the young man starts to develop tension slowly by slowly as he enters into the deep part of the forest (Sterling 104). This is too seen in the short story beneath an umbrella where there is the depiction of people getting to the limit. Hawthorne (27) quotes, onward, still onward, I plunge into the night. Now have I reached the utmost limits of the town, where the last lamp struggles feebly with the darkness, like the farthest star that stands sentinel on the borders of uncreated space”.

The other is allegory where, in the stories, the people are themselves put as allegorical. For example, in Young Goodman Brown, the young man himself is allegorically pitied against his past and trying to find the present (Kirszner 264). This is too seen in beneath an umbrella with the main aim of entertaining the readers as well as understanding. There is also too much of symbolism, with the main symbolism in the story Young Goodman Brown being the man as the faith and the other whole world being evil. The Umbrella is seen as shelter in the story beneath an umbrella and with the people in the two stories trying to be the people that are pitied against them. Colloquial expressions are seen in the informal language and expressions that are shown in the two stories and this has shown out that the writer wanted to associate the text with real life happenings.

Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Beneath an Umbrella. USA: International Business Publications, 2009.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Young Goodman Brown and other Short Stories. USA: Dover Publications, 1992.

Kirszner, Laurie. Fiction: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Orlando: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994.

Sterling, Laurie. Bloom’s How to write about Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York: InfoBase Publishing, 2008.

Waggoner, Hyatt. Nathaniel Hawthorne. Minneapolis: The Jones Press, Inc, 1962.





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