It is the purpose of this essay to show that Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is indeed an allegory. M. H. Abrams defines an allegory as a “narrative, whether in prose or verse, in which the agents and actions, and sometimes the setting as well, are contrived by the author to make coherent sense on the ‘literal,’ or primary, level of signification, and at the same time to signify a second, correlated order of signification” (5).
Yvor Winters in “Maule’s Curse, or Hawthorne and the Problem of Allegory” says that Hawthorne is essentially an allegorist (11). Stanley T. Williams in “Hawthorne’s Puritan Mind” states that the author was always “perfecting his delicate craft of the symbol, of allegory” (42).
A. N. Kaul states : “In an effort to apprehend and adequately reflect the new complexity of man’s life, he [Hawthorne] molded the venerable – in his case directly inherited – allegorical method into the modern technique of symbolism” (3). It is quite obvious from the names of the characters in the short story that their names are contrived to give a secondary signification. Goodman is on the primary level a simple husband who is following his curiosity about evil; on the level of secondary signification he is Everyman or the new Adam: R. W. B. Lewis in “The Return into Rime: Hawthorne” states: Finally, it was Hawthorne who saw in American experience the re-creation of the story of Adam and who . . . exploited the active metaphor of the American as Adam – before and during and after the Fall” (72). Goodman responds in this way to the fellow-traveller when the latter implicates the governor in devilish deeds:
"Can this be so!" cried Goodman Brown, with...
... middle of paper ...
Kaul, A.N. “Introduction.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, 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.
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.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Breanna Duarte Mrs. Stanford DE English Comp 20 March 2015 Light and Dark "Young Goodman Brown", is one of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's greatest literary works. A story of temptation and faith, overflowing with hidden meaning and symbolism. Hawthorne shows faith as a great asset but, when that faith is jeopardized, one can become doubtful and cynical towards the world. In the story, Young Goodman Brown falls prey darkness and sin, despite seeing the light of heaven. He becomes a person who does not trust his own faith and dies corrupted by evil.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown]
927 words (2.6 pages)
- 5. Nathaniel Hawthorne--"Young Goodman Brown." Discuss the story as an example of Gothic Romanticism. “Young Goodman Brown,” one of the stories in The Norton Anthology of American literature, fits into a sub-genre of American Romanticism. While similar to the fantasy and emotional side of American Romanticism it adds a dark twist to both emotion and nature, while still sticking true to the roots of a fantasy realm merging with reality. This genre is referred to as Gothic Romanticism, this story exemplifies and this with vivid descriptions of morbid, gloomy events, entangled with deep emotional and psychological torment.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown]
996 words (2.8 pages)
- “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible,” was once said by the Catholic priest Thomas Aquinas. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown,” Goodman Brown strays from his faith, resulting in a miserable life. At the beginning of the story, he rejects the wishes of his wife, aptly named Faith, to stay home with her. Instead, Goodman Brown goes on a journey with the wicked old man. The man tests Brown’s integrity and character; Brown is unable to stop himself from following the devil, as the devil gives Brown the only faith he has – to follow him.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown]
1106 words (3.2 pages)
- “Young Goodman Brown” is a story about a Salem inhabitant who brawls with his religious faith. He is met and swayed by an Old man (devil) in the forest to follow a dark path down to a formality. Throughout the short story, Young Goodman Brown starts questioning and doubting his faith due to the events taking place in the forest. The individuals around him seem to hold a heavy influence of how strong his own belief should be. It is never told if what happened that day in the forest was reality or simply a corrupt dream, but Young Goodman Brown 's life was a scuffle from that day forward.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown]
1368 words (3.9 pages)
- In the short story, “Young Goodman Brown”, Nathaniel Hawthorne enlightens his readers through symbolism regarding the plight of mankind. His ancestor John Hathorne, a judge during the Salem witch trials, compelled Nathaniel to use his literary work to express his thoughts about human morality. However, the guilt Hawthrone felt concerning his ancestors, caused him to add a “w” to his name to hide their relation. Salem, the setting for the story, foreshadows the symbolism that Hawthrone creates throughout his writing.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown]
1058 words (3 pages)
- “Corruption of Faith” “Young Goodman Brown” written by Nathaniel Hawthorne has intrigued critics since its publication in 1846 due to the main characters being used as representation for faith and humanity. Hawthorne is an early American writer whose dark romantic stories often focused on his Puritan heritage and the downfall of man. The story itself is said to be based on and a reflection of Hawthorne’s personal belief about human nature and faith. “Young Goodman Brown” is a confirmation of such beliefs, particularly the belief that having faith is an important asset and that faith can be corrupted and when it is, it can cause one to harbor hatred towards the world.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown, Sin]
1537 words (4.4 pages)
- Hawthorne’s Ancestral Influence The story, “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, appears, on the surface, to be a story about a man who struggles inside himself between good and evil. However, as one analyzes the story deeper, a reader will find it is indeed ambiguous. There have been many interpretations all of which find something different hidden among the passages. Upon deeper analysis, I have discovered many similarities as well as differences with real historical events. Historical events are drawn from Hawthorne’s own Hathorne ancestors and their Puritan roots, The Salem Witch trials, and other evil deeds that are interwoven into the story.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown, Salem]
1097 words (3.1 pages)
- One of the most effective ways to read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is by using psychoanalytic criticism to approach and interpret the text. Throughout the short story, Goodman Brown is under constant pressure from the three parts of his psyche, the Id, Ego, and Superego. Young Goodman Brown’s doesn’t just take a physical journey but in fact takes a psychological journey that explores the downfall of Goodman Brown’s sanity by having a constant struggle between his id, superego and ego.... [tags: Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1738 words (5 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1671 words (4.8 pages)
- The Internal Conflicts of Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne In Young Goodman Brown the theme is not only centered on religious hypocrisy (falsely claiming to have certain religious morals) but also on the internal conflicts of Young Good Man Brown. A basic rundown of the story is that one fateful evening Young Good Man Brown decides to attend a meeting of the black Sabbath. On the way there he come across various people who are also on there way there .These include the devil, Goody Cloys (his catechism teacher), deacon Gookin and the local minister.... [tags: Hawthorne Young Goodman Brown]
1433 words (4.1 pages)