The word “grave” suggests the danger and seriousness of the journey. Soon the author persuades us that this man represents the devil in Goodman’s struggle with his beliefs. The man is willing to lead Goodman deep into the forest, or in other words, deep into sin. The man even addresses Brown telling him... ... middle of paper ... ... himself from the generations before; he cannot completely separate himself from his parent’s faith and culture without losing his own identity. Hawthorne displays vivid setting throughout “Young Goodman Brown” to help him deal with the insecurities concerning not only his character but also his own forefathers and his own faith.
As he went deeper into the forest, he becomes more deeply involved with the devil, or evil. It became darker and he loses the light of his beliefs. Goodman Brown met the man in a forest outside of Salem. The forest represents evil and danger. Forests are normally dark with many scary creatures lurking in them.
The story does not state that this man is the devil, though it is assumed; “it is doubtful that he recognized Satan at first, but he knew that his journey was an evil one, and his conscience hurt him because of his disloyalty to Faith.” (McKeithan 2). This companion walks Young Goodman Brown through the forest where they come across many figures from Brown’s past and present religious circles. They find Deacon Gookin, the town minister, and Goody Cloyse, “a very pious and exemplary dame…and was still his moral and spiritual adviser,” (Hawthorne 3). Later, Young Goodman Brown tells the traveler “‘That old woman taught me my catechism’… and there was a world of meaning in this simple comment.” (Hawthorne 4). The reader can almost hear the disappointment and despair when Brown realizes that his mentor is in the evil forest, just as he is.
This battle of good vs. evil in society is precisely what Nathaniel Hawthorne shows through a great deal of intertwined religious symbolism in his short story, Young Goodman Brown. We begin with the forest. As Young Goodman Brown leaves his wife Faith (more on Faith later), he ventures off to conduct his unsavory task and must travel through the forest. The first thing that stands out about the forest is the trees. The trees are described as that “which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through” (449).This immediately brings to mind the old adage of the straight and narrow road, which generally considered a moral and ethical means of conducting oneself.
The deep, dark forest in the puritan town represents the internal evil of the villagers. The forest is viewed as mysterious, unknown and inhabited by the devil, while the town is pleasant safe and where his wife, "Faith," is. During Goodman Brown's walk through the "dark forest," he sees and learns that many of his mentors and relatives have chosen the path of evil. The forest is where all the respectable people of the town go to vent their evil while outside of the forest, they seem like they are pure and good. Hawthorne adds to the symbolism by personifying the trees "which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through" as Brown "walks alongside a dreary road."
However, the forest, may be thought to be the home of the devil, but is also full of colors and emotion. Here, both Hester and Pearl can express themselves for who they are, not what society sees them as. The forest represents a natural world, governed by natural laws, as opposed to the artificial, Puritan community with its man-made laws. The forest is a symbol of the world of darkness and evil. When Dimmesdale leaves the forest with his escape plan in mind, he is tempted to sin on numerous occasions during his journey back to the village.
One element of Young Goodman Brown is a criticism of Puritan self-righteousness; the devil points out to Brown that he has “a very general acquaintance here in New England” and then proceeds to cite instances of hypocrisy, prejudice, and persecution (Hawthorne 5). The devil also reveals that he is familiar with Brown’s ancestors, leading them toward sin (Hawthorne 5). All of this is disturbing to Brown and the issue of evil is f... ... middle of paper ... ... Dead.”), Hawthorne’s story provides the atmosphere in which such paranoia and delusion could take place. As Alan Simpson states, “The Puritan was always obsessed by his sense of sin. Taught to expect it everywhere, and to magnify it where he found it, he easily fell into the habit of inventing it” (Simpson).
As Goodman Brown 's journey gets darker and darker, he loses faith in the moral goodness of humans and his own religion instead of accepting the fact that humans are imperfect. On his path, he finds Goody Cloyse taking the path of evil; the person who taught Brown his catechism and acts as a spiritual and moral guide for him; a woman whom he believed was on a path to heaven. Later, he discovers that his minister and Deacon Good are also taking the path of sin. After spiralling into madness after learning the truth of the lack of moral goodness, Young Goodman Brown reaches his destination at the heart of the forest. He finds the residents of his town surrounding a dark figure,who describes a satanic ritual.
My third and final theme is the fear of the wilderness. The themes are apparent threw out the entire story. In Young Goodman brown the weakness of public moral is revealed. This theme is corruptible by the puritan society’s emphasis on public morality which weakens the individual’s person’s religious faith. Even though Goodman Brown decided to go into the forest to meet the devil he is scared to be seen with the devil so he hides from Goody Cloyse, The minister, and Deacon Gookin.
“Young Goodman Brown” – A Test of Faith Faith can be defined as complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is a short story of a man’s battle with his faith when tested during a journey through a forest. Hawthorne uses symbolism to suggest that when individuals lose their faith in the goodness of men, they may begin to imagine that their friends or family has yielded to temptation. The main symbols of this story are Goodman Brown himself, his wife Faith, the traveler, he meets, and the forest, an evil place full of witches and devils. The title, “Young Goodman Brown” in itself is a symbol in the story.