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Interpreting Puritanism. Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”. Steps of Our Interpretation. What do we know about Protestant Theology and Puritanism? Of the world view of these people? How does our understanding of ‘Myth’ inform our reading of the story?. Close Reading(a la New Criticism).

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Interpreting Puritanism

Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”


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Steps of Our Interpretation

  • What do we know about Protestant Theology and Puritanism? Of the world view of these people?

  • How does our understanding of ‘Myth’ inform our reading of the story?


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Close Reading(a la New Criticism)

  • Narrative

  • Setting

  • Character(s)

  • Conflict

  • Plot Structure

  • Climax

  • Denouement


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Close Reading (cont.)

  • Mood

  • Atmosphere

  • Symbols

  • Literary Devices

  • Theme

  • A Reading?


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Applying Other Critical Approaches

  • Psychoanalytical – what truth does the story convey about the human psyche?

  • Symbols of Psyche (Freudian, Jungian)?


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Other Approaches (cont.)

  • Moral / Intellectual: What is the nature of human nature?


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Other Approaches (cont.)

  • Marxist / Economic Determinist: How does social or economic class function within the narrative? How is individual identity wrapped up in these issues?


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Other Approaches (cont.)

  • Feminist / Gender: How is the story an expression of conventions of expectations about gender roles, identity, and social definitions of self and gender?


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Facets of Understanding (with thanks to Wiggins and McTighe)

  • Explanation: What is it?

  • Interpretation: What could it mean?

  • Application: Can I do something with it?

  • Perspective: What does it look like from a broad view?

  • Empathy: Have I experience like this?

  • Self-Awareness: What change have I undergone?


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