Symbolism And Symbolism Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's ' Young Goodman Brown '

Symbolism And Symbolism Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's ' Young Goodman Brown '

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Notorious for his significant use of allegory and symbolism, Nathaniel Hawthorne reveals this especially in his short story “Young Goodman Brown.” In the story, Young Goodman Brown ends up leaving his wife, Faith, for the night to go meet a man near the woods. This man illustrates the devil and brings him to a ceremony within the woods. Throughout the story, Young Goodman Brown struggles to maintain the same amount of the faith he once had. Faith and the man near the woods are both examples of symbolism in this story.
Initially, Faith is seen to be symbolic in more than one way. First of all, her name, “Faith,” can be considered symbolism. She symbolizes Young Goodman Brown’s faith that he has for his religion, as well as everything else. Faith is identified as wearing “pink ribbons of her cap” (Hawthorne 154). Usually the color pink is associated with happiness and goodness, like Young Goodman Brown’s faith he had before leaving for the forest. Young Goodman Brown mutters to Faith, “My love and my Faith … of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee” (155). Young Goodman Brown leaves Faith, as his wife, and also leaves his own personal faith to go meet the man near the woods, who is ultimately the devil. Towards the end of the story, Young Goodman Brown is in the woods for the ceremony with the devil and his worshippers. Young Goodman Brown glances over and sees Faith at this ceremony as well. He shrieked in despair, “Faith! Faith! . . . Look up to heaven, and resist the wicked one” (162). This part in the story epitomizes Young Goodman Brown’s last chance at his faith. It exhibits his last chance with Faith as his wife and with the faith of his religion and all the faith he had before. Young Goodman ...


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...arkness and evil, which is the opposite of Faith’s pink ribbons of goodness. Besides his apparel, the man also carries a staff “which might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent” (156). In the story of Adam and Eve, the devil disguises himself as a serpent to trick Eve into eating the sacred fruit. Now the staff is seen like a serpent. This only adds to the fact that this man could potentially be representing evil and the devil.
Allegory and symbolism are expected to be seen when reading the many stories that were written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. There happens to be many examples in his story, “Young Goodman Brown.” The two major examples of symbolism in this story are Faith and the man Young Goodman Brown meets near the woods. It is crucial to understand that people can embody multiple figures of symbolism, which is seen in both examples.

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