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Young Goodman Brown And Other Short Stories (1992)

Young Goodman Brown and Other Short Stories (1992)
3.84 of 5 Votes: 1
0486270602 (ISBN13: 9780486270609)
dover publications
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Young Goodman Brown And Other Short S...
Young Goodman Brown And Other Short Stories (1992)

About book: This is a challenging collection of short stories for me to rate. All of the stories present intriguing ideas and concepts, but some I found significantly more difficult to make my way through than others, primarily due to the writing style. If I had been a contemporary to Hawthorne, I doubt the style would have proved such a barrier, as it was, it sent me running from the book more than once.The first three stories are not overly long, and I found them to be engaging both in idea and execution. There is not much more to say, other than that I enjoyed reading them and that I am glad they were at the beginning of the book. If the book had started with one of the more difficult peices, I may not have finished it this month.Rappaccini's Daughter is where the language/style barrier first became readily apparent. The story had its engaging moments, and ideas, but I found the execution cumbersome. It took me several days to muddle my way through it, and by the end I was thankful it was over. What is worse, is that it coloured my initial expectations of Roger Malvin's Burial, prompting me to put off reading the story for a day or two.When I finally did read Roger Malvin's Burial, I was pleased to find that the execution was an improvement over Rappaccini's Daughter. I did not find it of the same calibre as the first three stories, but it was still a relief, and renewed my interest in finishing the book.Unfortunately, The Artist of the Beautiful savagely mauled my interest, and sent me running from the book for at least two days. I just could not get into the story. I did not hate it (the only reason it does not get one star), but I do not think I will be reading it again any time soon. The idea behind the story was certainly interesting, but the execution was incredibly heavy. Reading it made me feel like my mind was being compelled to push giant stone blocks uphill---repeatedly.Relief came with the final story: My Kinsman, Major Molineux. Initially I thought it was going to be a light-hearted story, but this idea was quickly dispelled as I read. Regardless, it was probably the most engaging of the stories presented in the book, and I read through it in one sitting.Individually, I would rate the stories as follows:Dr. Heidegger's Experiment: 4/5The Birthmark: 3/5Young Goodman Brown: 3/5Rappaccini's Daughter: 2/5Roger Malvin's Burial: 3/5The Artist of the Beautiful: 2/5My Kinsman, Major Molineux: 4/5

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is an allegorical tale about every man’s struggle between doing what is right and doing what is wicked. The story opens with Goodman Brown and his wife Faith in an emotional dialogue where Faith begs Goodman to not leave her side. Goodman insisted, Faith acquiesced and the journey began into the dark woods of Salem. After travelling deep into the dense forest he met the devil; a familiar man with a serpent shaped staff. Eventually Brown arrived at his destination, a mystical secret gathering of the town. After having witnessed this evil gathering and due to his poor choice in leaving Faith, Brown loses hope in all that is good. The author’s use of symbolism helps illustrate that if you succumb to the temptation to leave faith in the pursuit of curiosity that eventually evil and sadness will be brought upon you. An exciting book and a must read.
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I really didn't care for Hawthorne after reading The Scarlett Letter, but I picked up this collection of short stories for my English class and ended up reading the whole book instead of just what was assigned.I'm considering re-reading The Scarlett Letter because it doesn't seem quite so overwhelming anymore. I don't know why teachers usually introduce us to Hawthorne through his novel rather than "The Birthmark" or "Artist of the Beautiful." I read when doing research on Hawthorne for my class that he didn't even want The Scarlett Letter to be a novel by itself, but the publisher did so he added a bunch of pages and it really shows. If there are any teachers reading this, please please please teach his short stories before or without The Scarlett Letter.
A majority of the stories presented here i've read in numerous literature classes. Therefore, being able to read the other stories was a treat and hp put his more well known work in perspective for me. For the most part I enjoyed all of them, though I particularly enjoyed "The Artist Of The Beautiful", which is probably the simplest of the stories (every one of them is required re-reading in order to appreciate the entire depth of Hawthorne's skill), but very effective and not ambiguous. Other greats include The Birthmark and Rappaccini's Daughter, but I assume most of you are familiar with those titles already. If you enjoy any of Hawthorne's work and want a little more (as I did), this is a relatively cheap book that should suffice.
As another reviewer has said, Nathaniel Hawthorne's stories do not age well, and unfortunately that is particularly apparent in his short stories, which often deal with everyday matters pertinent to life in the early 19th century. For that reason, while this is a solid collection of his work, when compared to longer works such as his famous novel 'The Scarlet Letter, it seems niggardly and ignorant. In recognition of that deficiency in his work, I have given this anthology 3 stars, which would have received 4 had it either aged better, or held together more as a body of work.
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