In “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author tells a story of a man named Goodman Brow. From the beginning to the end of the story, Hawthorne uses suspense, mystery, and conflict to create an interesting journey for his protagonist, who walks through the woods at night. However, there is more in it than just the story by itself; it is full of many forms of symbolism for the character names in every part of the story. Throughout the many symbols and elements, the story of “Young Goodman Brown” suggests the idea that man always faces an internal conflict between good and evil, and when the wrong path is chosen, the effects of this can cause one to fill with doubt for the rest of his life.
The characters play an important role in showing the true meaning of the story. First, the most important and symbolic character of the story is Goodman Brown. The word ‘Goodman’ has a different meaning beyond its own meaning. The word means a person who is faithful and responsible. This is true in every man, which helps the reader to compare with this main character. For example, before leaving his wife Faith, Goodman replies to his wife shows that he is faithful about his journey, and his journey cannot be avoided at any point: "Amen! Cried Goodman Brown, Say thy prayers, dear Faith, and go to bed at dusk, and no harm will come to thee" (Hawthorne 1). On the other hand, the second symbol of the story is Goodman’s wife named Faith, whose name also has a symbolic meaning. She symbolizes Goodman’s own faith, and it is shown by the Goodman’s description of his wife: “And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap” ...
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... only suspicious about their relation as a husband and wife, but also the double-meaning of this wife’s name is the reason for losing his faith.
Although Goodman Brown still seems to have a little faith in himself, he has lost his trust of people around the world. Goodman’s own fault of losing his faith causes him to hide from rest of the world. Rather than seeing the good people around him, he only sees evil people and thinks they are hypocrites. In reality, Goodman Brown is the hypocrite because he thinks he is able to pass judgment on people who sin, whereas he does not care about his own sin. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the dark forest and many symbols throughout the story to represent evil and sin which surrounds the world. The main point that he is trying to make is that all people are not as good as they think, so everybody should hate the sin not the sinner.
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