Symbolism throughout the Story of Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Symbolism throughout the Story of Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In the story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne there is symbolism all throughout the story. Symbolism can be defined as the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. Hawthorne uses symbolism to describe a young man who reluctantly leaves his world of innocence and realizes that evil and darkness is in his world.
One of the earliest uses of symbolism is Faith and her pink ribbons. Faith is Goodman Browns wife. The name faith is an early sign of symbolism. It represents the values of Goodman Brown. Without his Faith, both figuratively and literally, he would be nothing. Also Faith wears pink ribbons in her hair. The ribbons are mentioned early in the story. The color of the ribbons is very important, because if the ribbons were black for instance the reader might take Faith as being a dark, mysterious person. However because Hawthorne made these ribbons pink it makes the reader think that Faith is innocent and pure. Also not just the color, but the fact that she wears a ribbon in her hair also promotes innocence. The pink ribbons play a large role later on in the story when Goodman Brown is in the forest.
Also, the name Young Goodman Brown is a symbol too. It symbolizes that he is young and that he is a good person. In the story Young Goodman Brown is portrayed just like his wife, Faith. He is portrayed as a young innocent person that clings onto both his Christian faith and his wife Faith. “Brown represents Everyman (“Goodman” was a title for those who were beneath the social rank of “gentleman”), while Faith, his wife, represents his religious devotion.” (Korb)
Later on in the story as Young Goodman Brown starts his journey into the forest Hawthorne uses symbolism to describe the setting of h...


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... that there is evil everywhere. After more conversation with the devil Brown realizes that more people are coming to the meeting. Brown then accepts the staff that the devil offered him to help travel faster. “Brown calls out three times for Faith to come to his aid, and not until he sees a pink ribbon from Faith's cap that has fluttered down from the sky and caught on the branch of a tree does he abandon hope, crying “My Faith is gone.” (Levy) This symbolizes that not only is his wife gone but also his personal faith. He lost his faith when he accepted the devils staff.
The story of Young Goodman Brown if full of symbolism. It symbolizes a common Puritan man that is strong in his faith. Brown believes that everyone is like him and is a good person. However he comes to realize that this is not the case through his meeting with the devil and loosing Faith.

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