The Allegorical Nature of “Young Goodman Brown”

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Nathaniel Hawthorne is a man of a long American history. He was born in Salem, Massachusetts to the Hathorne family, who date back to the original Puritans of America. In fact, Hawthorne added the 'W' to his last name to differentiate himself from John Hathorne, a prominent judge in the Salem Witch Trials. Hawthorne is a well known American Gothic author of the Romantic period; some of his commonly known works are: “The Scarlet Letter,” “The House of Seven Gables,” and “Young Goodman Brown”(Meltzer). The Romantic period was a period when the population at large focused on: the supernatural, an impulse to reform, the celebration of life, nature, and the idealization of woman(The Romantic Period) Hawthorne's short story “Young Goodman Brown” can be classified as a moral allegory, because it is a story that has two levels of meaning: literal and symbolic. The allegorical nature of “Young Goodman Brown” is evident throughout the story due to Hawthorne's use of imagery and symbolism to ultimately ridicule the true weakness in American religion. The important symbols of the story are: the different characters themselves, the setting of the story being in Salem, and Brown's journey through the forest. The most prominent use of imagery and symbolism is in the way Hawthorne conveys his characters. Hawthorne begins his story with a religious allegory by introducing Young Goodman Brown's wife, who was “aptly named” Faith(Hawthorne 329). Hawthorne vividly describes Faith as having pink ribbons in her hair, and as a believer of God, to paint an image of innocence. In the beginning scene of the story, when Young Goodman Brown says goodbye to Faith, she parted ways with the final words of “then God bless you, and may you find all well, when yo... ... middle of paper ... ...If Young Goodman Brown would have remained faithful to his religion and God, like he was supposed to, he never would have found his wife at the devil's communion, and he never would have has lost his innocence of being a good Puritan. Works Cited Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Young Goodman Brown." Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. By Edgar V. Roberts and Robert Zweig. Boston, Mass.: Longman, 2012. 329-37. Print. Meltzer, Milton. Nathaniel Hawthorne: A Biography. Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century, 2 007. Print. "Puritan Life." Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2014. . "The Romantic Period in American Literature and Art." N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2014. .
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