Free YGB Essay - Formalistic Approach to Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown
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Young Goodman Brown: The Formalistic Approach
In reading Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown, I found many of the formalistic approach concepts in this short story. The concepts in this short story were simple to see and to understand. There was much discussion about the symbolism, allegory, and allusion, along with the ambiguity, and form.
The formalistic approach to reading is one of the most common approaches to reading literature. The formalistic approach has three main points to it: symbolism, allegory, and allusion. However these are not the only criteria that belong to the formalistic approach. Ambiguity, form, and organic form are also a part of it. Symbolism can refer to an image. "When an image takes on meaning beyond its objective self, it moves into the realm of symbolism (86)". Allegory is "a one to one equivalence between the surface meaning and a higher meaning(101)". An example of this is a man named Christian that is christian. Allusion is a reference to something else, maybe another piece of literature or another movie. Allusion can lead to the reader's knowledge of the rest of the story. Ambiguity is the use of a particular word, but yet the word itself has many different meanings. Form is the way the reader identifies a story whether it is a story or a poem. The organic form has two parts: the local texture and logical structure. The local texture is the specific metaphors while the logical structure is the basic idea or argument of the story.
In Young Goodman Brown, symbolism is displayed in many areas. The first obvious one is the use of the word faith. Young Goodman Brown has a wife named Faith and in the later part of the story he actually loses his faith. The pink ribbon can also be used as a symbol. This is also a demonstration of ambiguity. Red often refers to sex while white refers to purity. However since pink is a mixture between red and white this leads us to think that there can be suspicion in this story. Other symbols from this book are the names of the people. In our class discussion we talked about the Puritans and the way they named their children. They name their children after things that are very important to them such as faith, purity, and chasity. Throughout this book there are many names used such as Faith and Goodman Brown.