The Symbolism of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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The Symbolism of “Young Goodman Brown” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown,” shows the reader the author’s power as a symbolist. Frederick C. Crews in “The Logic of Compulsion in ‘Roger Malvin’s Burial’” explores the symbology that prevails in Hawthorne’s best short stories: . . . I chose this one tale to analyze because it illustrates the indispensability, and I should even say the priority, of understanding the literal psychological dramas in Hawthorne’s fiction. Like all of his best tales, this one is packed with symbolic suggestions and invite a moralistic reading. . . . (111). Peter Conn in “Finding a Voice in an New Nation” states his evaluation of Hawthorne as a symbolist: He was a secularized Puritan symbolist, who recovered the dramas enacted in cases of conscience by tracing the lines that bound men and women to their motives. Concerned with individuals as specimens or types, he endowed his characters with solemnly stylized features and then studied their anxiety, or doubt, or guilt. He placed them amid settings and objects that gave symbolic expression to their inward states (84). Hugo McPherson in “Hawthorne’s Use of Mythology” explains how the author’s “inner drama” may be expressed in his symbolism: The imaginative foundation of a writer’s work may well be an inner drama or ‘hidden life’ in which his deepest interests and conflicts are transformed into images or characters; and through the symbolic play of these creations, he comes to ‘know’ the meaning of his experience; the imaginative structure becomes a means of reaching truth. . . . he lives ‘a life of allegory,’ and each of his works expresses one facet or another ... ... middle of paper ... ...ick in “Stories Derived from New England Living.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Hale, John K. “The Serpentine Staff in ‘Young Goodman Brown.’” Nathaniel Hawthorne Review 19 (Fall 1993): 17-18. James, Henry. Hawthorne. http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/nhhj1.html, no pag. Leavis, Q. D. “Hawthorne as Poet.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966. Levy, Leo B. “The Problem of Faith in ‘Young Goodman Brown.’” Modern Critcial Views: Nathaniel Hawthorne. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. 115-126. McPherson, Hugo. “Hawthorne’s Use of Mythology.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.
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