When analyzing an allegory like "Young Goodman Brown", the reader must realize that the story is in its entirety, a symbol. Hawthorne, through his writing is trying to convey the contradicting aspects of the Puritan ideology. This is made evident after discovering that Goodman's father burned an Indian Village and his grandfather lashed a Quaker woman. By Hawthorne including these acts of violence, he is revealing that the perfection thought to exist in a Puritan society is not so real. Not only past but present characters contribute to this belief. In the confinements of the forest, one sees how all those who are part of Goodman's present also have a dark side to haunt them. Many argue that it was a dream. However, Hawthorne was trying to demonstrate a larger picture. Whether through a dream or reality, it is clear that he wanted to challenge the so call Utopia of the Puritan society.
In many parts of the story the reader comes across symbols. Although some may be more lucid than others, one must focus on details in order to find more than the obvious. For example, the title "Young Goodman Brown" in itself holds major significance. It gives the reader a pretty good definition of who the protagonist is. Young Goodman Brown is young and therefore inexperienced, impressionable, and easily influenced. As the story continues, the reader realizes all these to be true. For one thing, Young Goodman Brown and his wife Faith,...
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