Young Good Brown: the Battle between Good and Evil

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Young Goodman Brown is a holy man, with a repressed wish inside of him to explore the unknown. This wish came to him through a dream and changed the rest of his life dramatically. The story "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne shows us the possible outcomes of Young Goodman Brown's decision to explore into the forest to find the unknown. Hawthorne also uses symbols in the story to represent good and evil. It is a story about a man whose true identity prevailed and destroys him from the inside out.

In the story Hawthorne uses people and objects as symbolic figures. The most symbolic roles in the story are Young Goodman Brown and his wife Faith. Both of the characters' names are symbolic and representative of who they truly are.

Young Goodman Brown is a good man. (Hence his name). He is a young man, who is naïve to most of his surroundings. He depends on others around him to keep his faith in god. In the story he is meant to represent "everyman" in society and the struggle they have with the evil within themselves.

Then there is Faith, Young Goodman Brown's wife, who also has a name that reflects who she truly is. She is young, like her husband. She is also a very innocent woman. The pink ribbons she wears in hair represent this. Her name also has a dual meaning throughout the story. As when Young Goodman Brown first enters the woods

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and runs into the man who resembles him (the devil). The man asked him why he was late. Young Goodman Brown's response was "Faith kept me back a while" (Hawthorne 1084). This response has a dual meaning because his wife Faith kept him back and, as did his Faith in god.

As Brown talks with this man, Hawthorne offers clues to who he truly is. Though Young Goodman Brown acts as if he knows the man, he or Hawthorne never says the man's name. Hawthorne then describes a staff the man carries with him. It resembles "a great black snake" or "living serpent." The serpent being a popular image of Satan. Hawthorne later refers to the man as " the fiend" and no longer as "friend." Whether his resemblance to Brown is an illusion or not, he either represents the evil within Brown, or he represents the Devil, the evil within us all.

As Brown continues his journey with this man into the woods he also ran into his old Sunday school teacher and the minister of the town.
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