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Young Goodman Brown: Good vs Evil

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Young Goodman Brown,” the author uses danger and mystery to represent the struggle of good versus evil. Young Goodman Brown journeys into the night and comes to realize an unforgiving truth. Everyone is in danger of abandoning their faith or is inherently evil. Nathaniel Hawthorne has filled this story symbolism, after reading this story the reader may have questions about Young Goodman Browns’ determination to journey towards his evil purpose. Nathaniel Hawthorne implies strong faith can endure but when that faith is destroyed, what view does a person have towards mankind? Let us take a look at Nathaniel Hawthorne’s use of significant symbols throughout “Young Goodman Brown.”
In the beginning of the story Hawthorne uses the name Faith for Young Goodman Browns’ wife. Faith is a symbol of her husband’s strong faith in God. Young Goodman Browns’ own name is a symbol for the innocence of young, good men, and the journey represents the loss of their innocence. Faith urges him to stay and not journey into the forest, but Goodman Brown reassures her by saying “Say thy prayers, dear Faith, and go to bed at dusk, and no harm will come to thee”(cite) Goodman Brown believes his faith will help him overcome what the devil has to offer and while still maintaining his puritan faith. Puritans believe the forest to be inhabited by the devil and the woods in "Young Goodman Brown" are an obvious symbol of his journey into sin and darkness. Even Goodman Brown supports this idea when he says to himself as he is walking along, "There may be a devilish Indian behind every tree... What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow!" As Goodman Brown enters the forest he meets a traveler who is waiting there for ...

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...dman Brown cries out “My Faith is gone! There is no good on earth and sin is but a name. Come devil! For to thee is this world given”(cite). This where he begins to believe there is only sin in the world and his faith in humanity is completely destroyed. He still vows to stand firm against the devil, however he has doubts that heaven exists at all. With his loss of humanity he can no longer look at his fellow neighbors, which he had once held with high esteem, he now views as sinful and hypocritical. The faith that did shine in his heart the darkness of the world has tainted the idea that life is good and pure. Goodman Brown is completely consumed by his doubts and he is a distrustful and unable to have any sympathy or love to others. He never recovers his faith and even after death his family had nothing to say good about him, “for his dying hour was gloom”(cite).
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