February 3rd, 2008


Young Goodman Brown & The Rocking Horse Winner [review & analysis]

There are absolutely ironic and metaphorical elements in the analysis of both of the following stories, "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and "The Rocking Horse Winner" by D.H. Lawrence, which provide profound implications and considerations to the morale.:

Young Goodman Brown
By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Young Goodman Brown is an intriguing short story about a young Puritan man existing in a self-righteous miasma who discovers the true motivations behind the hypocritical facade of the towns people surrounding him.

On All Hallow's Eve, he must leave his wife "Faith" {recognized as symbolic of his own allegorical belief}behind to venture into the vast untamed wilderness {represents the dark subconscious, akin to "The Great Abyss"} amidst wild beasts and savage Indians*. He eventually holds concert with The Devil {perhaps representative of his own guilty conscience within the Judeo-Christian myth's paradigm} in the forest, where The Devil attempts to persuade him to The Sabbath, but Brown is determined to remain in the good graces of his "God", upholding the perceived honor of his ancestors - yet to his horror, discovers and witnesses that the very same men and women he admires most in the past and present for their piety, are themselves in league with Lucifer, and have been for centuries.

For instance, the elderly Goody Cloyse {she who had schooled him in catechism, now considering him a "silly fellow"}, an apparently staunch Puritan matriarch, appears in the forest to inform his "worship" [sic] that her broom has disappeared despite her knowledge of the ingredients to make the broom fly, including "baby fat", as is the classic claim born of hysteric legendry, as invented by various dramatic writers and Christian propagandists of the time. The Infernal Gentleman graciously lends her His own serpentine staff to usher her forth safely into the night to the ceremonial grounds.

Traveling on, Goodman Brown witnesses clergyman Deacon Gookin he admired so well, riding his horse astride with The Prince of Darkness, salaciously laughing it up about the night;s initiate, a nubile young lady. To his horror, he later realizes that she who is to be initiated is his precious wife Faith, as is made evident in one maddening sequence, in which he tears violently through the forest lamenting his apparent loss, subsequently finding falling pink ribbons {representing "purity" and innocence"; translate: ignorance}. His visage ironically resembles that of a fearsome beast {see Satanic Statement #7}, more terrible than those who inhabit the woods, as he comes closer to himself as the beast in man.

As if in a dream, he finds his way to The Sabbath, where Satan appears in a plume of sulphurous flame amidst an Altar and arc of rock, calling forth the converts**.

Before him, Brown recognizes prominent persons of all persuations of good and ill-repute celebrating the diabolic mass together. During His Sinister Sermon, Satan recognizes the true nature of man is that of 'evil', no matter how much one tries to deny it, offering historical proof of such. Brown's delusions are shattered, awakening the next morning, as if his eyes were finally opened to the undefiled truth.

Consequently, Young Goodman Brown refused to aknowledge man's true selfish nature, thus becoming paranoid and fearful, suspicious and muttering.


Whether or not the events occurred is not as important as the consideration of the effect it had on the protagonist, establishing that the antagonist frequently causes a change for the better, as he/she/it forces the pretentious so-called 'righteous' to face themselves in all of their repressive false sanctimony.

* Indians were considered literal 'devils' by early English-American settlers because of their natural and perceived exotic customs.

** Comparable to a butterfly bursting from its cocoon of fleshly ignorance unto the raptures of The Devil's carnal delights.

The Rocking Horse Winner
by D.H. Lawrence

The Rocking Horse Winner is truly a tragic tale about a boy whose golden heart and gift for clairvoyance ultimately led to his demise, because of excessive, counter-productive greed and confusion besetting his mother, who adhered to a misunderstanding of the application of motivational greed, as opposed to an unbalanced obsession. Love and luck were equated according to the amount of money in the coffers.

By a series of prognostications, the boy did bring the precious cash forth, all the while rocking violently on his magical rocking horse, which was actually a tool of mediation and focus for him to assuage the winning horse in the day's race. He was eventually driven insane by the a-dolt's pre-occupation until his demise.

Ironically, in one scene, his mother admonished him to cast away his childish ways, when she herself did not realize her own compulsion.


In both accounts, 'supernatural' elements were used to exemplify the inner turmoil contained within the characters' own imbalanced psyches, diverting blame onto others which should have gone to themselves, to tragic results.

Collective morale of the stories: Self-realization, balanced values, honesty with oneself and cared-for others will yield productive results, and serve as a vehicle for true enlightenment.