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Gay Marriage Relating To Young Goodman Brown

Gay marriage is a major issue in today's world. It is talked about everywhere and has seen a dramatic increase in supporters since the dawn of social media. But how does gay marriage relate to a world removed from us by four hundred years?

Young Goodman Brown is an 1835 short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which is set in Salem at the time of the infamous witch trials. As young Goodman Brown leaves his house to see to an errand, his young wife begs him to stay. Insisting that he must complete the job, Brown leaves for the forest. There, he encounters a traveler who appears to be an older version of himself. From here, Hawthorne develops the idea of reality clashing with fantasy as Brown hears the voice of his wife calling out to him. Upon exiting the woods, Brown finds himself surrounded by the townspeople as they bring out his wife to join him in a satanic ceremony.

There have been many interpretations of this story since its original publication, but one of the more interesting ones discusses the idea that Young Goodman Brown was a homosexual, living unhappily in a life, which was not meant for him. Perhaps this explains why he insisted on leaving his wife so late at night to go on an unnamed errand. Was Brown planning to meet somebody in the forest? Brown's run in with the older incarnation of himself suggests that Brown does not find fulfillment in his life and is forced to venture into the forest for love even in the autumn years of his life. Even in the forest, however, Brown cannot escape the guilt he feels for cheating on his young bride as he is haunted by the sound of her voice blowing in the wind.

When the young man finally makes it to the end of the forest, he witness the horrible scene of being tied to his wife in an ungodly ceremony. Perhaps this represents the day Goodman Brown was married. Is this how he recalls it? Unnatural and terrifying?  Maybe so. If Brown is gay, of course the memory of being married to a woman he doesn't love would scar him thus.

The story of Young Goodman Brown includes numerous incidences of fantasy taking over reality. One can argue that gay marriage was what Brown ultimately wished for but in reality, knew he could never have.