The Use of Color Symbolism by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

The Use of Color Symbolism by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

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Is it possible for an author to utilize so much symbolism that it captivates the reader to the extent of paralleling the tale with their own life? The principle of symbolism is quite evident in the story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown”. Nathaniel Hawthorn’s work is immersed with symbolism with most of it deriving from his Puritan beliefs. The themes of sin, guilt, innocence, and lust come forth through the uses of color symbolism as well as visual clues. All of these things are dealt with in everyday life in modern America. “His ability to create vivid and symbolic images that embody great moral questions appears strongly in his short stories.” (Bloom)
To begin to understand the mind of Nathaniel Hawthorne you must first know a little about the magnificent man. Nathaniel Hawthorn was born in Salem Massachusetts during the time of the Salem witch trials. His father and grandfather took an active role in these trials. His interest in the parallel between sin and evil is very evident in the tale of “Young Goodman Brown”. Nathaniel Hawthorne is said to be first American writer who was conscience of the failure of mankind. “Young Goodman Brown” is said to be the one of the best works of Nathaniel Hawthorne. The use of his vivid symbolism and implanting his Puritan beliefs made the tale not only one of love but of disappointment in mankind as well. “Few of Hawthorne’s tales have elicited a wider range of interpretations than “Young Goodman Brown.” (Press)
From the very beginning of the tale the use of color imagery is very evident, for example; the tale begins at dusk of the day when all things are becoming dark. Evil loves the darkness and hates to be revealed in the light. Therefore this journey had ...


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Behind the witty presentation made by Hawthorne lies an unpleasant truth about the journey into the heart of darkness and the emerging soul into enlightenment as to what life is truly like. Hawthorn allows the reader to escape from the pages of his writing and become involved in the tale and to parallel it with their own life whether it is by color imagery or by the play upon the names of the characters involved. Either way Hawthorne made all of his writings vivid and easy to picture for even the most closed minded person.



Works Cited
Bloom, Harold. Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Young Goodman Brown." The Norton Anthology American Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 2007. 1289 - 1298.
Press, The Green House. "Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne." San Diego : Greenhaven Press, 1996.

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