Symbols and Analysis within Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

Symbols and Analysis within Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

Length: 2392 words (6.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne provides historical, societal, religious, scientific and biographical contexts. The story is set in the period of the Salem Witch Trials in Puritan New England. The story describes Brown's journey into the depths of the forest, where he believes that he sees many of the members of his community, including his wife Faith, attending a satanic ceremony. The narrator implies that Brown may be sleeping, but either way the experience was real. It affected Brown very much. The story is often read as Hawthorne's condemnation of Puritan ideology, as it proposes that Puritan doctrine could strain so much doubt that believers were doomed to see evil-whether or not it truly existed-in themselves and especially in others. Within the short story of Young Goodman Brown, one can find evidence that collectiveness in communal life would be considered moral and that individualism would be considered unmoral in society. Eventually it becomes clear that a communalist life style is a necessary evil. Through Goodman Brown’s discovery of the corruptibility that results from Puritan society’s emphasis on public morality, one can piece together the idea that man is a social being and must be included in some type of community; whether the community itself is moral or unmoral.
When Brown is approached by another traveler with a large staff that looks like a snake; the devil’s staff was encircled by a carved serpent. This comes from the biblical symbol of the serpent as an evil demon. In the Book of Genesis, the serpent tempts Eve into eating the forbidden fruit from the forbidden tree; which defied God’s will. When the devil tells Brown to use the staff travel quicker, Brown takes his advice, just as Eve, he is ...

... middle of paper ...

...and he is upset when the devil tells him that this was not the case. He himself is ashamed to be seen walking in the forest and hides when Goody Cloyse, the minister, and Deacon Gookin pass. The forest is characterized as devilish, frightening, and dark, and Goodman Brown is comfortable in it only after he has given in to evil.

Works Cited

Folsom, James K. “Man’s Accidents and God’s Purposes”. Multiplicity in Hawthorne’s Fiction.
New Haven: College and University Press 1963.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown.” Literature: A Pocket Anthology. Ed. Gwynn,
R.S.. Third Edition. New York: Longman Publishers 2007. 198-209.
Paey, Stephanie. “Symbolism and Human Nature in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman
Brown”. Yahoo! Contributor Network. Apr 8, 2006.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Analysis Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's ' Young Goodman Brown '

- “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is an interesting tale about the struggle of choosing between good and evil. Throughout the story, Goodman Brown encounters characters while journeying towards an evil ceremony, and while travelling, Brown briefly encounters a variety of characters that are all gathered in the climatic final scene. Hawthorne, however, vividly uses language to describe his main characters. Therefore, the same language patterns can be used to draw conclusions about the final group of characters that we know so little about....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Term Papers
1227 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of `` Young Goodman Brown `` By Nathaniel Hawthorne

- 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]

Term Papers
1058 words (3 pages)

Analysis Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's ' Young Goodman Brown ' Essay

- “Young Goodman Brown” is a short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, set in Salem village in the year 1846. In this short story, Young Goodman Brown has to fight within himself to keep his faith alive and stay uncorrupted. The author uses symbolism and religious imagery to support the story and make it more meaningful. Faith is a huge topic in this story and it is a test that Goodman Brown must pass in order to go back to his normal old life. Goodman Brown’s faith is tested with his journey through the forest....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Term Papers
1055 words (3 pages)

Nathaniel Hawthorne 's Young Goodman Brown Essay

- 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]

Term Papers
996 words (2.8 pages)

Essay about Nathaniel Hawthorne 's Young Goodman Brown

- “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]

Term Papers
1368 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of Nathaniel Hawthorne 's ' Young Goodman Brown '

- “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]

Term Papers
1537 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on Nathaniel Hawthorne 's Young Goodman Brown

- “By the sympathy of your human hearts for sin ye shall scent out all the places--whether in church, bedchamber, street, field, or forest--where crime has been committed, and shall exult to behold the whole earth one stain of guilt, one mighty blood spot” (Hawthorne pg. 21). “Young Goodman Brown”, an American short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, does well to blend together a dark, mysterious storyline with a lesson fixated upon the battle between good and evil. Hawthorne was born into Salem, Massachusetts, a small village whose citizens had once accused and executed each other for being “witches.” During these times, the conflict between good and evil and its effect upon one’s overall happines...   [tags: Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne, God]

Term Papers
1423 words (4.1 pages)

Essay about Nathaniel Hawthorne 's Young Goodman Brown

- Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story of Young Goodman Brown is very interesting. It provides a question of what is reality and what is made up in the mind. Young Goodman Brown, being in the time period he is in, gives the knowledge that religion has a large impact on his life. That being said, having the devil be something that is presented, whether in dreams or in real life, is something that isn’t taken lightly. Stories like this can have an impact on how the story is perceived at the end depending on the the reader....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Salem]

Term Papers
729 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

- Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown      In Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne tells the tale of a man and his discovery of evil. Hawthorne’s primary concern is with evil and how it affects Young Goodman Brown. Through the use of tone and setting, Hawthorne portrays the nature of evil and the psychological effects it can have on man. He shows how discovering the existence of evil brings Brown to view the world in a cynical way. Brown learns the nature of evil and, therefore, feels surrounded by its presence constantly....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne Young Brown Essays]

Term Papers
1846 words (5.3 pages)

The Psychological Dimension of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Birthmark Essay

- The Psychological Dimension of “The Birthmark”               This essay will analyze Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” in order to demonstrate that it is a “psychological” short story both in its themes and in its emphasis on the moral-psychological aspect of the main characters. There is probably unanimity among literary critics that Hawthorne is a “psychological” writer. Consider some of their statements chosen at random from various critiques of Hawthorne’s literary works: Stanley T. Williams in “Hawthorne’s Puritan Mind” says: What he wrote of New England was ....   [tags: Birthmark, Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Term Papers
3155 words (9 pages)