In my college English Comp class I just wrote up a short reaction to the story "Young Goodman Brown". It amazed me because I could completely relate to what he faced in the story. It really applies to any JW who has the courage to face the reality of what the religion values. Here is an excerpt from my reaction:
"Goodman Brown symbolizes the pivotal point in a person’s life; a point I can relate to. Brown is forced to take his head out of the sand and take a realistic look at what his religion represented. His Puritanical upbringing and all its baggage had intertwined itself into his being. He, for whatever reason (maybe marriage), had come to the point in his life that he was no longer able to put off the nagging feeling in his psyche. I know that feeling; it emerged in me after the birth of my two daughters. It feels like it originates in the deepest part of your gut. It brings a lump to your throat. It is the feeling of inevitability. Brown takes a mental journey that allows him to accept what his mind his shoved deep within him. He comes face-to-face with the implications of being a Puritan. What he sees is not pretty. The innocence that he clung to for so long is swept away as he is forced to remove the facades of his Puritan faith. He is left feeling empty, bitter, and betrayed. This is where my path differs from Brown’s. Brown, because of his newfound knowledge, becomes “A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not desperate man”. Now I certainly do understand why he became this way. This was the only choice in life. You could not come to the point of realization and decide, “oh, I think I will become an atheist now” if you wanted to stay alive during that time period. So who is to say that, living in our modern time, Brown would not have stepped away from the lies and deception and carved a new path for himself? This path might have afforded him a new lease on life free from the burden of his knowledge - sweet release from the shackles of hypocrisy."