Nathaniel Hawthorne 's `` Young Goodman Brown `` And `` The Black Cat ``

Nathaniel Hawthorne 's `` Young Goodman Brown `` And `` The Black Cat ``

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In the works of Nathanial Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe, both their short stories contain archetypal symbolism. Hawthorne’s story “Young Goodman Brown” is similar but different than Poe’s story “The Black Cat.” These two authors show many different forms on archetypal symbolism. An archetypal symbol are things like characters, plot, feelings and settings. It can also be things like colors and animals. Archetypal symbolism can be, “… love, guilt, redemption, and death are archetypal subjects; the conflict between reason and imagination, free will and destiny, appearance and reality,… are archetypal themes;…the ambivalence of the male-female relationship,…hero, devil, rebel, wanderer, enchantress, maiden, and witch are archetypal characters; and certain animals, birds, and natural phenomena and settings are archetypal images” (N.F. 95). All of these different things can be used as symbolism in literature. A story or poem can contain one or many of them. In the stories “Young Goodman Brown” and “The Black Cat” the authors use multiple forms of archetypal symbolism in ways that are alike and ways that are completely different. Some similarities that these two stories share are a villain, a fall and a form of good versus evil. Both authors use colors to portray evil their stories. In both stories the men are married and the wives offer a symbolic meaning to these stories. They also have many differences between archetypal symbolisms such as the way they experience the journey’s they take and the ritual in Hawthorne’s story. Poe’s work portrays a much darker form of humanity then Hawthorne does.
Hawthorne’s story begins with good versus evil. Young goodman Brown is contemplating with his wife about a journey that he must attend to. ...

... middle of paper ... cats are very mysterious creatures and black cats have many myths of being bad luck and associated with evil.
The second cat that appears as a form of the narrator’s guilt. The narrator says, “For my own part, I soon found dislike to it arising with me…I know not how or why it was – its evident fondness for myself rather disgusted and annoyed” (721). The new cat symbolizes how he was feeling after hanging Pluto. The feelings are tormenting him and that caused his hatred towards the second cat. Sova writes, “The black cat becomes a symbol of the narrator’s guilt, self-hated, and need for punishment, all of which are exposed when he bangs on the wall, causing the black cat to howl and revealing his wife’s corpse behind the wall” (2). The narrator was feeling so guilty about killing Pluto that his self-conscious thought up this second cat that began to trouble him.

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