Essay about Deep Allegory in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

Essay about Deep Allegory in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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Deep Allegory in Young Goodman Brown   


    Herman Melville in “Hawthorne and His Mosses” (The Literary World August 17, 24, 1850), comments on the deep allegory found within Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale, “Young Goodman Brown.”

"Young Goodman Brown"? You would of course suppose that it was a simple little tale, intended as a supplement to "Goody Two Shoes." Whereas, it is deep as Dante; nor can you finish it, without addressing the author in his own words--"It is yours to penetrate, in every bosom, the deep mystery of sin." And with Young Goodman, too, in allegorical pursuit of his Puritan wife, you cry out in your anguish. . . .

The use of allegory in his short stories is characteristic of Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the literary critics comment on this fact repeatedly. Peter Conn in “Finding a Voice in an New Nation” explains Hawthorne’s style of allegorizing and how it creates unwanted tensions for the reader:

He once planned to call a group of his stories “Allegories of the Heart,” and in that unused title he summed up much of his method and his subject. His chosen terrain lay between the realms of theology and psychology, and allegory provided the means of his explorations. . . . Where traditional allegory was secured in certitude, however, Hawthorne’s allegorical proceedings yield only restlessness and doubt. The stable system of correspondences that tied allegory’s images and ideas together was lodged squarely upon the religious orthodoxy that Hawthorne rejected. In his belated version of the sacramental world, the links binding visible to spirit have become vexed and problematic. . . . This doubleness generates tensions that can be felt throughout Hawthorne’s work . . .(83-84).

Yvor Winters in “Maule’s C...


... middle of paper ...


...iffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.

Leavis, Q.D. “Hawthorne as Poet.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.

Lewis, R. W. B. “The Return into Time: Hawthorne.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.

Melville, Herman. “Hawthorne and His Mosses,” The Literary World August 17, 24, 1850. no pag. Web 13 April 2015
http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/hahm.html

Williams, Stanley T. “Hawthorne’s Puritan Mind.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.

Winters, Yvor. “Maule’s Curse, or Hawthorne and the Problem of Allegory.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.

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