How much are people inherently evil versus good

A student submission on June’s theme of Good versus Evil

Author: Joseph Casolco

I argue that people do possess inherently evil natures, and that everyone does. However, when reading the book Young Goodman Brown, I found a couple of things that are worth discussing considering we do evil things such as war, discrimination, and other terrible deeds, but there is a limit to all of this. In Young Goodman Brown, when Young Goodman and the companion are walking along the trail, and they start talking about how something of his got stolen “my broomstick hath strangely disappeared stolen as I suspect by that unhanged witch Goody Cory” (Hawthorne 5). Here we can get a glimpse into what Goodman is thinking when he talks about other things. This being the case that we can see that he is racist about this person that supposedly stole his broom stick because he refers to her as a witch and talks down when he is referring to her. This demonstrates racism by having a complex that Goodman Brown does not trust anyone that he deems a witch and because of that he groups the one person who he does not know for sure if it was them or not with all the other witches with baseless proof. 

Another thing that we all harbor in every single one of us is that we sometimes have massive amounts of hate, and I am not talking about hate as in I do not like this person. I mean hate as the most vengeful feeling that anyone can succumb to. The reason that I mention this is that when Young Goodman Brown is hiding in the trees he felt this feeling “Goodman Brown stepped forth from the shadows of the tree and approached the congregation, with whom he felt a loathful brotherhood by the symphony of all that was wicked in his heart”(Hawthorne 9). Here we can learn about how Goodman Brown feels that deep down he feels loathful for brotherhood meaning that he has a deep-down aggression towards other people that call themselves brothers and the text even says that all was wicked in his heart. So that means that even the most devoted people who believe in religion can have wickedness in their heart no matter who the person actually is, and it exposes our flaws as humans that we are all subjected to feeling this no matter how much we repress it.

The last feeling that Young Goodman Brown hears is when the dark figure is talking, “how beardless youths have made haste to inherit their father’s wealth.” Here we can see that when the figure is talking to young men in the audience, there is more than just meets the eye and that being the people are possessed by greed as well these are all human feelings that are our darkest deepest desires even if we may not act upon it. We do wish that we can have things like money, fame, power, and all of the things people would want. This being the case shows how evil we can be and what we are willing to do to achieve that. It also shows us how greedy we as humans can be and how we can be swayed by temptations and no matter what there is always an underlying evil inside every one of us.  However, there is good as we have to balance out the bad of humankind with the good that humans do as a Yin and Yang sort of deal. Even though Young Goodman Brown feels all of these wicked feelings, he is still in search of the one person that he loves the most in the world, this being his wife. He cares so much about his wife he would risk running through his burning village just to find her. But he only does after the events that take place inside the village. 

We can love one another. That is no question without a doubt in my mind something we all have experienced once in our time whether that be from a parental figure or someone outside of your bloodline that is friends or a significant other that you care deeply for. With our emotions we can draw a line between humankind being completely evil and a line in the invisible sand where we call the line. When reading Young Goodman Brown, it gets you to think about the society that we live in today with current day wars, greed, and an underlying hatred along with other negative feelings that we as humans live within our day to day lives for the most part we resist these tempting urges and in this new light of us resisting these we can find a light. Positive emotions,  love, compassion, caring, along with other positive emotions. As there is bad in us, there is also good, and as we live through this life, we can share these positive emotions with others. We can spread positivity with others however we must never forget the bad side of everything. 

As I wrap up these last comments, I would like to leave you, the reader, with a question. How have you been affected by these positive emotions? Do you feel them the most whether this be good or bad? You must surround yourself with the positive and right people that you feel positively towards. Like when we surround ourselves with positivity, we become positive and vice versa. We have choices. We may choose the best ones while never forgetting about the underlying evil nature that we all possess.

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