New England Stories Tradition in Two New Essay

Total Length: 921 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 0

Page 1 of 3

New England Stories

Tradition in Two New England Stories and in Today

Both "A New England Nun" by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman and "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne are tales of distinct New England traditions. While "A New England Nun" portrays the marrying customs of old New England, "Young Goodman Brown" depicts the spiritual customs of Puritan New England. But such is not to say that every Puritan was going to midnight meetings with the Devil -- the tale is an allegorical representation of every man's dual nature; nor is Freeman suggesting anything more than that Louisa Ellis prefers her life the way she has grown accustomed to having it -- nice and pretty and free of dirt. Though Goodman Brown and Louisa Ellis are both affected by the traditions of their New England surroundings, both are able to transcend them: Louisa Ellis through the happy chance hearing of her fiance's love for another, and Goodman Brown through the spiritual insight gained after a night of temptation. As Freeman and Hawthorne show, customs are always shaping individuals, but sometimes individuals buck the trends of tradition, which can even be seen today.

Louisa Ellis is a woman who has been engaged for fifteen years to someone she has not had to see for fourteen of those years. As a girl she was in love -- or assumed she was -- but the affection she felt gradually waned as it had no object to be placed upon. Her years of solitude have given her a quiet, self-interested disposition.
But because it is the custom of her time to keep one's word, even if given in girlhood, she is ready to be married to someone she does not love as she once did. It is even uncertain whether he loves her as he once did. But her fiance is as determined as she to keep his word. Fortunately, Fate reveals to Louisa Ellis that her fiance would be more happily married to another girl, which allows Louisa Ellis to break off the engagement and resume her life of solitary simplicity, which Freeman equates to the life of a Catholic nun in a cloister. The reference is atypical, since New England was largely Protestant: but then Louisa's habits are also viewed as atypical, such as using china every day. Thus, her remaining alone is seen as something alien to the traditions of the time -- but not exactly in a negative way.

Goodman Brown is also a man who will become a kind of outsider to his surroundings. Happily married and virtuous, Goodman Brown is tempted to meet the Devil one night. Though he is begged by his wife Faith to stay the night with her, Goodman Brown resists her entreaties. To his….....

Have Any Questions? Our Expert Writers Can Answer!

Need Help Writing Your Essay?