Allegory and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” Essay

Allegory and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” Essay

Length: 1196 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is an excellent example of the use of allegories and symbolism as a form of satire on Puritan faith. According to Frank Preston Stearns, author of The Life and Genius of Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Hawthorne may have intended this story as an exposure of the inconsistency, and consequent hypocrisy, of Puritanism” (Stearns 181). Throughout the story of “Young Goodman Brown,” Hawthorne tries to infuse as many symbols and allegories as he can to enhance the overall meaning of his story. He uses the village, Goodman Brown, Faith, the man in the forest, and the time spent in the forest as either a symbol or an allegory to get his point across that Puritans are not always what they seem to be.
One of the first symbols that Hawthorne uses in “Young Goodman Brown” is the village in which the story takes place, Salem village in Massachusetts. The reason that the village is symbolic to the story is because of what occurred in Salem’s history. According to Susan Balee, a writer for The Hudson Review, “the witchcraft crisis overwhelmed Salem in 1692” (Balee 377). During this time it was thought that the devil lived in the forests of Salem. The Puritans were accusing each other of being a witch and it led to the deaths of many men and women. If a person was accused of being a witch he/she would be considered as a follower of the devil. The first assumption that can be made by this cultural symbol is a prediction that “Young Goodman Brown” will be about Puritans and witches. Even though the story is not necessarily about witches, it has something to do with the fact that Puritans thought the devil lived in the forest of Salem during the trials. Also, another reason that Hawthorne probably used ...


... middle of paper ...


...e, Susan. "Captives of Their Imagination: Salem in 1692." The Hudson Review 56.2 (2003): 377. Questia. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.
Ferber, Michael. A Dictionary of Literary Symbols. Cambridge, England: Cambridge UP, 1999. Questia. Web. 28 Nov. 2013.
Harper, Preston. "Puritan Works Salvation and the Quest for Community in "THE SCARLET LETTER"." Theology Today. April 2000: 51-65. SIRS Renaissance. Web. 29 Nov 2013.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown.” Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Ed. Edgar V. Roberts and Robert Zweig. 5th Compact ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2012. 329-37. Print.
Stearns, Frank Preston. The Life and Genius of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1906. Questia. Web. 28 Nov. 2013.
Tharpe, Jac. Nathaniel Hawthorne: Identity and Knowledge. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 1967. Questia. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

- Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown      Nathaniel Hawthorne utilizes symbolism throughout his short story Young Goodman Brown to impact and clarify the theme of good people sometimes doing bad things. Hawthorne uses a variety of light and dark imagery, names, and people to illustrate irony and different translations. Young Goodman Brown is a story about a man who comes to terms with the reality that people are imperfect and flawed and then dies a bitter death from the enlightenment of his journey through the woods....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne Young Goodman Essays]

Strong Essays
1272 words (3.6 pages)

Symbolism in Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne contains much symbolism. The symbols take many forms from the setting to the characters. The symbols can be viewed as just part of the story line, but apon further thought they represent many different things. Faith, Brown’’s wife, is a symbol herself. When he says, ““My love and my Faith,”” he is using his wife as a symbol and is really referring to his love and faith in God. He goes on to say ““this one night I must tarry away from thee.”” He means that he must part from his faith in God to carry on with his journey....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Free Essays
700 words (2 pages)

Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

- In 1835, Nathaniel Hawthorne published the tale of “Young Goodman Brown,” a tale that illustrates many configurations of symbolism used to leave the reader planting the pieces together through his characteristics of detail and imagery. Hawthorne’s prime analogy expressed throughout this tale is the loss of vulnerability and pureness when reaching maturity. The setting of Young Goodman Brown is in Salem, where the Salem witch craft trials were held in the 1600’s. This is the first symbol Hawthorne uses throughout the story as a test of who is innocent at this present time and who is not just as they did during the witch trials....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown, 2014]

Strong Essays
558 words (1.6 pages)

Allegory and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” Essay

- Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is an excellent example of the use of allegories and symbolism as a form of satire on Puritan faith. According to Frank Preston Stearns, author of The Life and Genius of Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Hawthorne may have intended this story as an exposure of the inconsistency, and consequent hypocrisy, of Puritanism” (Stearns 181). Throughout the story of “Young Goodman Brown,” Hawthorne tries to infuse as many symbols and allegories as he can to enhance the overall meaning of his story....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Satire, Puritanism]

Strong Essays
1196 words (3.4 pages)

Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

- Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" is full of symbolism throughout the story. Perhaps the most interesting examples of symbolism include the title character, Young Goodman Brown, as well as his wife, Faith, and the woods that Young Goodman Brown enters on his journey. Included are many allusions to Christianity and also to evil and sin. These references are expressed mainly through characters and settings in the story. The character Young Goodman Brown is an excellent example of symbolism being used in a story....   [tags: Papers]

Strong Essays
472 words (1.3 pages)

Symbolism throughout the Story of Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

- In the story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne there is symbolism all throughout the story. Symbolism can be defined as the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. Hawthorne uses symbolism to describe a young man who reluctantly leaves his world of innocence and realizes that evil and darkness is in his world. One of the earliest uses of symbolism is Faith and her pink ribbons. Faith is Goodman Browns wife. The name faith is an early sign of symbolism. It represents the values of Goodman Brown....   [tags: faith, evil, journey]

Strong Essays
642 words (1.8 pages)

The Use of Color Symbolism by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Is it possible for an author to utilize so much symbolism that it captivates the reader to the extent of paralleling the tale with their own life. The principle of symbolism is quite evident in the story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown”. Nathaniel Hawthorn’s work is immersed with symbolism with most of it deriving from his Puritan beliefs. The themes of sin, guilt, innocence, and lust come forth through the uses of color symbolism as well as visual clues. All of these things are dealt with in everyday life in modern America....   [tags: Writers, Nathaniel Hawthorne,Young Goodman Brown]

Strong Essays
1035 words (3 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of `` Young Goodman Brown `` By Nathaniel Hawthorne

- In the short story, “Young Goodman Brown”, Nathaniel Hawthorne enlightens his readers through symbolism regarding the plight of mankind. His ancestor John Hathorne, a judge during the Salem witch trials, compelled Nathaniel to use his literary work to express his thoughts about human morality. However, the guilt Hawthrone felt concerning his ancestors, caused him to add a “w” to his name to hide their relation. Salem, the setting for the story, foreshadows the symbolism that Hawthrone creates throughout his writing....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown]

Strong Essays
1058 words (3 pages)

Nathaniel Hawthorne 's Young Goodman Brown Essay

- Symbolism in “Young Goodman Brown” In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown” Hawthorne conveys to readers a seemingly highly religious Puritan town. However, this town appears to be holding a devious truth. Throughout his work Hawthorne utilizes symbolism to convey the corrupt and evil truth behind the otherwise highly religious Puritan town. Through his main symbol usage of Faith’s pink ribbons, Faith’s name and appearances throughout the story, and the woods in which the story is set, readers see the façade slowly fade through the story and reveal the truth about the town....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Strong Essays
1356 words (3.9 pages)

Nathaniel Hawthorne 's Young Goodman Brown Essay

- ... When Goodman Brown initially approaches the dark figure in the forest, the dark figure lets him know that he is late, to which Goodman Brown replies, "Faith kept me back awhile" (Hawthorne 453). This shows that his “Faith” never wanted him to partake in this journey to begin with. Brown’s faith in humankind is shaken when made aware of the fact that the dark figure has an unsavory acquaintance with members of Brown’s family and prominent members of the community. Goodman Brown quickly tries to distance himself from those he is made to believe to be unholy and again attempts to reinstate his own faith exclaiming, " 'there is my wife, Faith....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Devil]

Strong Essays
774 words (2.2 pages)