Young Goodman Brown Symbolism Essay

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The use of symbols in today’s culture has become so widespread that they often go unrecognized as symbols. Things like the American flag are a great example of a symbol, but they are seen so often that they become overlooked. Symbols are also incredibly common in literature, and authors love to use them to add a second meaning to many things in their stories. Nathaniel Hawthorne was a huge fan of symbols, and made that apparent in his short story Young Goodman Brown. The story is flush with symbols, and they can be easily grouped into three categories. Hawthorne uses some of his symbols to give a negative vibe to things such as characters or settings, as well as using the names of his characters to add an additional layer to the story. Lastly,…show more content…
Goodman Brown as a character is nobody special, just an average man from the town of Salem. His last name is one of the most common, and he doesn’t have anything that distinguishes him from the other townspeople. With this in mind, Goodman Brown is symbolic of the readers, and of the everyday man in that time period. He represents every person who has gone against faith, if even for a second, and can easily be seen as the scapegoat of his people. Faith is another name that was not simply picked out of a hat for this story, but is crucial to reaching a new level of…show more content…
Her name is representative of the faith that Goodman Brown should be having towards God. When the devil asks Goodman Brown why he is late to their meeting, he replies that “Faith kept me back a while” (529). This sentence itself has a double meaning because of the name of his wife. Not only was he late because he was talking with his wife and reassuring her that he would be okay, but he was also second guessing his faith and was nervous on whether or not he wanted to follow through with his quest. Whenever Goodman Brown finds himself in trouble he yells for Faith to come and help him, which can also be seen in two ways. He might want his wife Faith to come and save him, but he realistically knows that there is nothing she can do for him at that moment. More importantly, the call for faith can also be seen as him calling to God for salvation and redemption. Alongside his use of names, Hawthorne also uses colors in his story to communicate meaning without explicitly stating
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