The story begins when the young Goodman Brown is saying goodbye to his wife, Faith. She asks him to stay with her, saying that she feels scared when she is alone. Goodman Brown tells her that he must travel for one night and reminds her to say her prayers and go to bed early so she will safe. Goodman Brown walks on a road through a forest. He looks around, afraid of what might be behind each tree, thinking that there might be Indians or the devil there.
He soon comes upon a man in the road who greets Goodman Brown.The man is dressed in regular clothing and looks normal except for a walking stick with a serpent carved that he carried. Goodman Brown and this mysterious figure go into the dark forest, the man offers Goodman Brown the staff, he says that it might help him walk faster, but Goodman Brown refuses. He says that he came to their meeting because he promised to do, but does not wish to touch the staff and wants to return to the village. Goodman Brown tells to him that he feels ashamed to socialize with him because he and his family members is Christian and good people.
The man replies that he knew Goodman Brown’s family and other members of churches, and even the governor of the state. The purpose of their journey is to join in a ritual. Goodman Brown expresses reluctance, not only once but several times. He refuses because he says that he wants to return to his house for Faith. At that moment, there is a woman come and Goodman Brown knew that she is Goody Cloyse, who he knows to be a pious, respected woman from the village. He hides, ashamed to be seen with the man. She identifies him as the devil and reveals herself to be a witch, on her way to the devil’s evil forest ceremony.The man gives Goodman Brown his staff then the man tells him that he can use it for transport to the ceremony if he changes his mind.
Then he hears the voices of the minister of the church and Deacon Gookin, they are also on their way to the ceremony. Goodman Brown swears that even though everyone else in the world has gone to the devil, for Faith’s sake he will stay true to God. And, he hears voices coming from the ceremony and thinks he recognizes Faith’s voice. He screams her name, and a pink ribbon from her cap flutters down from the sky.After he knew that Faith has turned to devil and there is no good in the world, Goodman Brown gets the staff, which brings him quickly through the forest to the ceremony.
When he arrived at the ceremony, he looks around to the forest, the trees are on fire, he sees his father, his mother, the minister, Deacon Gookin, Goody Cloyse and Martha Carrier. He and Faith approach the altar and they are to be anointed in blood to seal their alliance with wickedness. He tells Faith to look up to heaven and resist the devil, but suddenly he finds himself alone in the forest. The next morning Goodman Brown returns to Salem Village.Everyone that he passes is seems evil to him. He sees the minister and he refuses to accept the blessing from the minister who blessed him.
He hears Deacon Gookin praying and he calls him as a witch. He sees Goody Cloyse quizzing a young girl on Bible verses and snatches the girl away. He sees Faith at his house and refuses to greet her.
It’s unclear whether the meeting in the forest was a dream or not. But, Goodman Brown is changed. Now, He can’t believe the words of the minister, doesn’t trust anyone in his village, and doesn’t fully love his wife as before. He lives in the rest of his life with gloom and fear.