Faith is believing what you can’t see or touch. Faith is knowing something especially when there is no proof to back it up. “Young Goodman Brown” is a story about a man who leaves his wife, Faith, home alone for a night while he journeys with the devil down the road of temptation. During the course of his journey, the man sees many people who seem out of place, including his wife. When he returns home to Salem, he is a changed man. In this story, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism and characterization in order to imply that when an individual loses faith in the goodness of mankind, that individual may conclude that mankind (including friends and family) has given in to temptation.
Hawthorne uses symbolism to imply that when individuals lose their faith in the goodness of mankind, they may begin to imagine that their peers have yielded to temptation. The character of Faith is Goodman Brown's spouse, but she is also a symbol of his faith in mankind. Brown's relationship with Faith changes as the story progresses, from tender and caring love to judgmental scorn. Brown's thoughts about Faith as he leaves on his journey are: "Poor little Faith...she's a blessed angel on earth;...
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...ith in humanity and starts imagining that all his peers are guilty of sin. Is mankind unworthy of our faith? No. Faith in the goodness of mankind is a belief in something for which there is proof.
Works Cited and Consulted:
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Complete Short Stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York: Doubleday and Co., Inc.,1959.
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.
Wagenknecht, Edward. Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Man, His Tales and Romances. New York: Continuum Publishing Co., 1989.
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