DE English Comp
20 March 2015
Light and Dark
"Young Goodman Brown", is one of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's greatest literary works. A story of temptation and faith, overflowing with hidden meaning and symbolism. Hawthorne shows faith as a great asset but, when that faith is jeopardized, one can become doubtful and cynical towards the world. In the story, Young Goodman Brown falls prey darkness and sin, despite seeing the light of heaven. He becomes a person who does not trust his own faith and dies corrupted by evil. Throughout the story, Hawthorne uses light and dark imagery to symbolize the struggle between good and evil in the world.
In Hawthorne 's, "Young Goodman Brown," the dark refers to the evil and temptation people face everyday. The Puritans believed that the Devil and evil resided in the woods. When Brown leaves his wife Faith, he tells her to go to sleep at dusk so no harm will come of her (Hawthorne 325). The darkness is seen as dangerous, and it is thought that bad things happen after dark. Brown sets forth on his dark journey and enters the woods, he becomes very nervous, “he had taken a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest”(Hawthorne 325). As he continues on into the, "deep dusk in the forest", he encounters an old man whose staff resembles a black snake (Hawthorne 326). The black snake suggests that Goodman Brown 's companion is the Devil, and the snake represents the Devil being portrayed as the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Hawthorne uses these dark images to show the testing Young Goodman Brown 's faith throughout his journey in the woods. He continues on with the Devil to where darkness is the greatest.
Light images are used to portray goodness and innocence....
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... and the wife her husband, before than unhallowed altar” (Hawthorne 332). Hawthorne uses the red light images to illustrate the flames bringing to light the evil of his congregants.
In "Young Goodman Brown", Hawthorne shows how the sin Goodman Brown entertained for one night follows him to his death. This story is written to show how Young Goodman Brown loses sight of his faith and becomes a cynical person. Hawthorne uses the darkness of the journey to represent all the sin and evil which surrounds us in this world. Light images give a sense of faith amidst the darkness of sin. Hawthorne 's use of light and dark imagery throughout, "Young Goodman Brown", emphasize Goodman Brown 's struggle between good and evil. However, in the end Goodman Brown could never truly overcome what he experienced that night in the woods and allowed the darkness of life outshine the light.
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