From isolation to insanity: The doubt that destroys in "Young Goodman Brown" and "The Fall of the House of Usher"
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This discussion will focus on how the characters in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s "Young Goodman Brown" and Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Fall of the House of Usher" are led to their ultimate death by way of insanity, which is caused by their overwhelming self-doubt. This doubt can be linked to setting and its impact on Goodman Brown and Roderick Usher, and their susceptibility to isolation from those around them, as well as their own beliefs. This essay explores how the physical location of the characters causes questioning within themselves, and has consequences that affect not only their lives, but also the lives of those close to them (both in the special sense and emotional). The torment within a person when isolated from reality causes a disruption of stability, confidence, moral being, and state of mind. To question one’s own thoughts and purpose for existence becomes unbearable, and shatters the foundation that relationships are built upon. To be detached from society means being unable to interact or relate to others in a meaningful way, forcing one to ultimately be alone. Confined to inner thoughts that question lifelong beliefs lead to unhappiness and insanity for Goodman Brown and Roderick Usher. Hawthorne and Poe pull from personal experiences to create characters that represent a fear that exists deep inside all of us. My research will prove that isolation leads to doubt, which leads to insanity, which leads to death. Happy reading.