Analysis Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's ' Young Goodman Brown ' Essay

Analysis Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's ' Young Goodman Brown ' Essay

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“Young Goodman Brown” is a short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, set in Salem village in the year 1846. In this short story, Young Goodman Brown has to fight within himself to keep his faith alive and stay uncorrupted. The author uses symbolism and religious imagery to support the story and make it more meaningful. Faith is a huge topic in this story and it is a test that Goodman Brown must pass in order to go back to his normal old life. Goodman Brown’s faith is tested with his journey through the forest. Having a strong faith can get one through any difficult situation, but what happens when that faith is shaken? When corruption and temptation come into play, will Young Goodman Brown’s faith stay strong and let him through without being corrupted or will he lose it all?
Before Goodman Brown begins his journey, he has a really strong faith and that is mostly because of his wife, Faith who symbolizes Goodman Brown’s faith. Goodman Brown’s description of his wife shows us his strong faith. Hawthorne writes,”And Faith, as the wife aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap” (Hawthorne 79). The pink ribbon is a symbol of Faith’s purity and innocence. Since Faith herself symbolizes Goodman Brown’s faith, it is suggested that Goodman Brown’s faith is very strong. When Goodman Brown leaves for his journey into the forest, even though he knows he is off to an evil purpose, he still believes that he will return home to Faith untainted.
“Poor little Faith!” thought he, for his heart smote him. “What a wretch am I to leave her on such an errand! She talks of dreams, too. Methought as she spoke there was trouble in her face, as if a dream has warned her what work is ...


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...es his own faith. He goes on by saying, “There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil; for to thee is this world given” (Hawthorne 85). That’s when he takes the devil’s staff and is immediately transported to the evil ceremony where he sees how corrupted everyone is.
By taking the devil’s staff, Goodman Brown makes a choice and that leads to his loss of innocence. From that point onwards, he never looks at anyone the same way. He thinks that everyone is corrupted. At the end, he is a changed man who has lost his faith and innocence. Goodman Brown loses his test because his so called strong faith was shaken and weakened as he gave in to the devil’s temptation and became corrupted. This was bound to happen because even before going to the forest, he knew his guilty purpose was a sinful act but still he chose to go and as a result, he lost everything.

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