Analysis Of Hawthorne 's ' Young Goodman Brown ' Essay

Analysis Of Hawthorne 's ' Young Goodman Brown ' Essay

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Symbolism in “Young Goodman Brown” is not discrete. This makes analysis of this piece seemingly simple. We can observe the various roles that Goodman’s wife, Faith, holds in the story. In “Young Goodman Brown” Faith holds the major roles of purity and protection as Goodman embarks on his journey through the wilderness.
Faith is representative of Goodman’s innocence and purity. She is the only pure-hearted character leading up to the ritual in the woods. As Goodman ventures farther and farther into the woods, Faith continues to be more and more endangered. She is weakened and eventually defiled by being at the gathering that her husband makes his way to. By the end, Faith is no longer pure and innocent as she once was.
Faith is weakened simply in the act of Goodman leaving home despite his wife’s warning. She is upset and fearful of the night ahead. The farther that Goodman strays from home and Faith, the farther he strays from purity. Eventually, purity is completely stripped from him and Faith is defiled when he is at the outermost point from home, which was his guide’s destination. The innocence of Faith is directly correlated to Goodman’s distance from home.
Goody Cloyse is the first to really begin tearing down Goodman’s confidence in Faith. He learns the truth about Goody. This was the woman who taught him his catechism and “there was a world of meaning” in that (Hawthorne). He trusted this seemingly pious woman. She had a distinguished reputation among the townspeople, the religious in particular. Goody laid the foundation of Goodman’s faith. Now that Goody’s character is tarnished, it opens the floodgates for doubt and question in Goodman’s mind of what is true, compromising his innocence. Now Goodman decides against moving...


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... her joyfully in this spiritual act. Although he has not forsaken her completely, he trusts absolutely only in himself. He turns away from townspeople he once trusted, and above all his wife, Faith. He no longer seeks out and runs to Faith as he once did. Goodman turns more and more to himself, even unto death, “for his dying hour was gloom” (Hawthorne).
Goodman Brown’s wife, Faith, is representative of his true faith. Seeing Faith personifying innocence and security is helpful to blatantly display how curiosity and sin stain spiritual faith. This faith was once innocent and pure, a source of protection and safety. Because of his curiosity, his faith is devalued and tarnished by the devil and the wilderness. He now has knowledge of the sinfulness that could be around him. This destroys his relationship with Faith and with God. The cheapening of Faith ruins his life.

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