from Dr. Rita K. Gollin's lecture "Figurations of Salem in `Young Goodman
Brown' and 'The Custom-House.' "
Dr. Rita K. Gollin of SUNY Geneseo discusses Hawthorne's use of Salem
and family history in "Young Goodman Brown" in excerpts from a lecture
given at The House of the Seven Gables Historic Site,
September 23, 2000. (Used with author's permission)
from lecture, "Figurations of Salem in 'Young Goodman Brown' and
'The Custom-House,'" by Rita K. Gollin, delivered at Phillips Library,
Peabody Essex Museum on September 23, 2000.
In this passage Rita Gollin emphasizes the way in which Hawthorne had
internalized the shameful events of Salem's history in which his ancestors
played critical roles. For her, Young Goodman Brown's journey into the
dark forest serves as a metaphor for Hawthorne's own dark introspections.
Excerpt from The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne by Margaret
Moore (courtesy of University
of Missouri Press)
"In 'Young Goodman Brown' the young protagonist talks of his ancestor
who commanded the constable to lash 'the Quaker woman so smartly though
the streets of Salem.' Hawthorne had read this detail of the whipping
of Ann Coleman in William Sewel's The History of the People Called
Quaker, which said that Major Hathorne had once opposed 'compulsion
for conscience' but that his 'firm warrant' for whipping had almost
cost Coleman's life" (32).