Hawthorne’s story begins when Goodman Brown leaves on a nighttime journey through the forest. When the story starts, Brown’s wife Faith is begging him not to go. Her warning, “may you find all well when you come back” (Hawthorne, 1), seems to indicate leaving them both alone in the darkness will only lead to disaster. In Irving’s story, Rip Van Winkle refused to undertake any work that might possibly earn a profit for himself no matter how much his wife nagged him. “In fact, he declared it was of no use to work on his farm; it was the most pestilent little piece of ground in the whole country; every thing about it went wrong, and would go wrong, in spite of him” (Irving, 9). Rip’s nonconformism was in his assertion that thoughts and ideas were worth sharing and exploring while the farming of a useless piece of property just to make a good impression on the neighbors was a waste of good effort.
Both men follow a path that appears to be out of the normal pathways followed by others. Hawthorne describes Brown’s path as unusual or outside the accepted norm. “He had taken a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind” (Hawthorne, 1). Although he meets several people from the village on his journey, Brown continues to express surprise and sadness at each meeting because of the “evil purpose” of the journey. Rip’s path is obviously not one typically traveled by the men of his village either. Not only is the path described as a high place in the Catskill Mountains, but the remote nature of the landscape is revealed when Rip stands up to leave. “Rip now felt a vague apprehension stealing over him; he looked anxiously in the same direction, and perceived a strange figure slowly toiling up the rocks, and bending under the weight