Western literature includes many great stories distinguished by a male protagonist, such as "An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce, "To Build A Fire" by Jack London, and "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. These stories deal with the male protagonists' illusions about life, himself and others.
In "An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge," Peyton Farquhar gets caught up in an episode of the Civil War and faces hanging. Refusing to accept the reality of his impending doom, he conceives of a fortunate escape and grabs at it desperately.
The unnamed male protagonist in "To Build A Fire" is crossing the frozen wastes of the Yukon in an attempt to rejoin his friends. London juxtaposes the man's conviction that he can master nature with that of his canine companion, whose instincts warn of nature's overwhelming superiority but who follows along because he knows the man can build a fire.
"Young Goodman Brown" is a story that retains the power to shock even after many readings. The eponymous protagonist leaves behind his fiancée as he sets out on an errand. Along the way he falls in with a stranger who seems to have the same destination, but it is only after they arrive that the terrible truth is revealed.