Hawthorne named his lead character “Goodman Brown,” which is seemingly apt, for just as the color brown seems to dance on the line between lightness and darkness, so does our protagonist. That is to say, that Goodman Brown is inexplicably attracted to evil, yet once he comes in contact with evil, he shies away, culminating to create an indecisive character, thus generating the idea of his “brown” disposition. Initially, Brown seems to be nothing more than a happy newlywed, until Hawthorne unexpectedly twists the story, and Brown leaves his new wife, Faith, with the intention of participating in an evil ritual. Any guilt Brown feels in beginning the journey is quelled by thoughts Faith’s virtue, which he believes will secure him a place in heaven, and having so calmed himself, he feels “justified in making more haste on his present evil purpose” (Hawthorne 1346). However, shortly upon venturing into a dark forest, Brown’s resolve soon begins to fade, and he even refuses...
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...n alternately shone forth” (Hawthorne 1351). Hawthorne’s choice of red as a backdrop for the crowd is interesting, as red can symbolize anything from courage to lust. However, one of the most universally recognized meanings of red is the symbol of danger, and as the crowd grabs Brown and pushes him closer to a baptism of blood, we can easily conclude that Hawthorne intends for the congregation to be seen as dangerous.
Undoubtedly, through Hawthorne’s use of color, we can garner a slightly better understanding of the final scene, filled with the host characters that Hawthorne spent little or no time developing in his story. Though arguably minor, Hawthorne’s development of earlier characters using color has allowed us to conclude that the congregation is both evil and dangerous. All only an example of Hawthorne’s unique language skills, and his unusual use of color.
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