because we see him commit these sins. Brown

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Last updated: May 12, 2019

because he believes both take a plungein the same unconscious place, but the mystic knows how to swim because he canmake room for the material in his ego-consciousness, whereas the psychoticflounders helplessly, which is then overwhelmed by the waters of being” (Moores1).

Brown is engulfed by a psychic wave that has the potential to cleanse himof the sin of not recognizing his own sinfulness, but we find out he fails anddrowns as we see him commit these sins. Brown lacks real faith and he then “adoptshis position of seeing his own evil in projection onto other people as a way tofeel a sense which is illusory of holiness in a culture which said a sinfullife is a sure sign that one was not one of the Elect” (Moores 1). Jung wouldhave applauded Hawthorne for such criticism because he believed mostinterpretations of Christianity lacked a shadow vent. He believedChristianity’s simplistic pitting of good against evil, spirit against body,and God against Satan was inimical to and incompatible with the psyche, whichcontained a myriad of darker unconscious forces all making claims on theconscious ego. These forces needed to be integrated, according to Jung, notdivorced from consciousness and then disowned and demonized (Moores 1). Moores touches upon the significance of the Devil, who is a figure withstrong associations with nature plays such a primary role in Goodman Brown’sforest.

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The Devil is the supreme outcast and the premier symbol of shadow. Allgods and goddesses, according to Jung, are projections of us. We are all “idolatersin this regard, creating gods and goddesses in our own image by projecting ourvirtues onto various omnipresent abstractions and calling them divine figures(Moores 1).

So too is it with demons and devils: they are merely projections ofour unwanted parts or those elements that do not fit our sense of ego-self.Satan, according to Jungian theory, is Christianity’s shadow; he is all thereligion refuses to tolerate. Just as the forest reflects Goodman Brown’sunwanted and reconciled energies, Satan also does the same because he is thespecific embodiment of his shadow archetype. The details presented throughoutthe story strongly support such a reading because the Devil appears to be “inthe same rank of life as Goodman Brown, and bearing a considerable resemblanceto him …

. they might have been taken for father and son” (66). The Devilis even dressed in the same manner as Brown.

Later in the story, Goody Cloyserecognizes the appearance of the Arch-fiend as that of her “oldgossip”. When the resemblance between Brown and the Devil is established,the narrator simply refers to the latter as “old Goodman Brown” (68).At first glance a reader with a Christian orientation might take thesimilarities between the two characters as deviltry, as the arch-fiend workinghis wiles and insidiously taking on the appearance of a Puritan whose soul heis about to steal (Moores 1). But to read the character in such a way is tofail, just as Brown does, to recognize the projection.

Hawthorne is aware ofwhat he was doing. Brown surely would recognize a figure who remarkableresembled his father and grandfather and thus himself. However, there is noindication that he sees himself reflected in the Devil.

Although it is truethat from the Christian perspective one may argue that he is tricked, but in aJungian reading, and from Hawthorne’s perspective, “we as readers must interpretthis with some subtlety’ and see the Devil as Brown’s own projected psychicenergies, his own shadow self externalized and granted sway over him” (Moores1).

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