As “little difference between what the psychotic and the

As Hawthorne’s story shows,
encountering the shadow can be seriously destabilizing. According to Moores, Goodman
Brown dies as a miserable man due to the fact that he has engaged the contents
of the unconscious, facing part of himself that his religion deems unacceptable
and demonic (1). According to Jung, the integration of dark unconscious elements
can only occur “if one’s conscious mind possesses the intellectual
categories and moral feelings necessary for their assimilation” (68).
Goodman Brown, with his either/or, us/them morality, can do only little to make
room in his consciousness for his satanic self which he thus experiences in
projection to his dying day. Everyone is satanic from his perspective because
he cannot recognize his own inner Satan archetype (Moores 1). From a Jungian
perspective, Brown has stumbled upon a treasure trove of psychic energy but
does not see it for the gold it truly is. He could have been made whole had he
had the correct intellectual categories and moral feelings and had he been more
nuanced in his religious outlook. But instead, he experiences something on the
order of a sustained lifelong psychosis where he trusts no one, lest he be
corrupted by evil. Jung believed there is “little difference between what the
psychotic and the mystic experience because he believes both take a plunge in
the same unconscious place, but the mystic knows how to swim because he can
make room for the material in his ego-consciousness, whereas the psychotic
flounders helplessly, which is then overwhelmed by the waters of being” (Moores
1). Brown is engulfed by a psychic wave that has the potential to cleanse him
of the sin of not recognizing his own sinfulness, but we find out he fails and
drowns as we see him commit these sins. Brown lacks real faith and he then “adopts
his position of seeing his own evil in projection onto other people as a way to
feel a sense which is illusory of holiness in a culture which said a sinful
life is a sure sign that one was not one of the Elect” (Moores 1). Jung would
have applauded Hawthorne for such criticism because he believed most
interpretations of Christianity lacked a shadow vent. He believed
Christianity’s simplistic pitting of good against evil, spirit against body,
and God against Satan was inimical to and incompatible with the psyche, which
contained a myriad of darker unconscious forces all making claims on the
conscious ego. These forces needed to be integrated, according to Jung, not
divorced from consciousness and then disowned and demonized (Moores 1).

Moores touches upon the significance
of the Devil, who is a figure with strong associations with nature plays such a
primary role in Goodman Brown’s forest. The Devil is the supreme outcast and the
premier symbol of shadow. All gods and goddesses, according to Jung, are
projections of us. We are all “idolaters in this regard, creating gods and
goddesses in our own image by projecting our virtues onto various omnipresent
abstractions and calling them divine figures (Moores 1). So too is it with
demons and devils: they are merely projections of our 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 the religion refuses to tolerate. Just
as the forest reflects Goodman Brown’s unwanted and reconciled energies, Satan
also does the same because he is the specific embodiment of his shadow
archetype. The details presented throughout the story strongly support such a
reading because the Devil appears to be “in the same rank of life as
Goodman Brown, and bearing a considerable resemblance to him …. they might
have been taken for father and son” (66). The Devil is even dressed in the
same manner as Brown. Later in the story, Goody Cloyse recognizes the
appearance of the Arch-fiend as that of her “old gossip”. 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 the similarities between the two
characters as deviltry, as the arch-fiend working his wiles and insidiously
taking on the appearance of a Puritan whose soul he is about to steal (Moores
1). But to read the character in such a way is to fail, just as Brown does, to
recognize the projection. Hawthorne is aware of what he was doing. Brown surely
would recognize a figure who remarkable resembled his father and grandfather
and thus himself. There does not seem to be any sign that Brown is in any way
reflected in the Devil. Although it is true that from the Christian perspective
one may argue that he is tricked, but in a Jungian reading, and from
Hawthorne’s perspective, “we as readers must interpret this with some subtlety’
and see the Devil as Brown’s own projected psychic energies, his own shadow
self externalized and granted sway over him” (Moores 1).   

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