Goodman or Badman

A student submission on June’s theme of Good versus Evil

Author: Seeme Zuberi 

The story of “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathanial Hawthorne is a story that focuses on faith and religion and how many people whether it be religious or social groups, people will always try to make themselves seem a certain way that is different than what they truly are. I argue that men are created as a clean slate and are created good, but the experience is one way face in their lives regardless of being traumatic or not will affect how evil a person can truly become. In daily encounters with other people, we may find that either we or them may. be putting on a face in order to be perceived in a way that they’d like. 

We can reference this back to “Young Goodman Brown” by seeing how Goodman Brown wanted to perceive himself as a good religious man who came from a good family and very known values and reputation, but in secret he goes and makes deals with the devil. The trend of the well known and idolized religious figures in the community going and making deals with the devil. They were people who had seemed as if they worshiped god and their religion fully but they secretly had been doing things like this. This shows that regardless of his status and his family life being very good and religious, his situation had let him do things that were considered evil to the people he respected. 

Some examples of this are when people seem nicer than they actually are in order to benefit themselves such as get things that they want and have better opportunities in life. Many people put on a mask when doing things such as taking job interviews and meeting new people in order to be more liked or be more fitting for the position. This can also work in the opposite way when people seek leaders in order to get themselves out of situations and out of being suspected of something. When people seem meaner and put on a fake mean face, people are more scared to approach them and interact with them in order to confront them for something that they’ve done wrong. In younger twin Brown it was very strange to Goodman Brown to find out that another one of the religious members at his church had also been making deals with the devil. Innoway he kind of judged him and was hypocritical about the way that they were doing the exact same thing that he was doing just because of the public figure and well known reputation they had because that was a mass they carried in their society. It shows that many people inside of this story have worn masks because everyone seems very innocent and very good citizens but many of them were doing the exact same thing, but judge other people. 

Although it is true that Satan worshiping and making those the devil obviously is not good luck, this kind of shows house they knew that it was something bad to lose something that they chose to hide and they chose to glamorize and show off the good achievements that they did have in their societies. We can also say that different social groups will act a certain way in front of one group and a different way in front of another, which shows how we want to be received by different groups. 

These people are seeing us face to face, but I feel as if there are many situations in which you have to put on a face in order to get what you’d like. As you can tell, obviously the people in Goodman Brown who had gone to see the devil would obviously not like to be perceived as this since the status and benefits they get of being a high religious figure leads them to living a very healthy, happy life. 

Many people often try to hide many of their emotions and true opinions about many things whether it be in politics or their religious/social views, in order to protect their reputation and their relationships with other people. This is due to the fact that they may have a very healthy social life with their friends and family, but their true opinions being out in the public would damage this greatly. We know from Goodman Brown that if the information about what the religious figures have been doing had gotten out and become very public, the reputations would’ve been ruined and their lives therefore being surrounded by many other Christian people who may have different secrets but will not expose themselves would change greatly. 

The issue of faith and religion is also brought into the story quite often, maybe people may lie or wanna be perceived as differently by wearing a mask and seeming like a better person of religion than they are in order to not be judged by people in their communities. This is seen in many areas where you’ll find out things that many pastors or high religious figures have done in their hiding times, which they would never want to be publicized since they seem to be so much higher than they are.

Other people may also treat people differently based on the way that they perceive a person. If someone is wearing a mask that makes them look very mean or impatient, many people will stay away from people such as that. If that is your true personality, many people like to put a mask over that and seem like they are very nice people. In return people will treat them nicer and give them more opportunities in life, even when making new friends and getting new connections in order to make more money may be beneficial. 

In conclusion, there are many reasons why people wear masks in our societies and why there are many two-faced or fake acting people since they find benefits in the perception of themselves that they’d like to be perceived as.

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