Nathaniel Hawthorne’s allegorical story “Young Goodman Brown” is set in Salem, Massachusetts during the late sixteen hundreds in a time of religious hysteria and only a few generations after the infamous witch trials. Although "Young Goodman Brown" is a fictional tale, it is based on the cynical environment of Salem during this time period. The short story is filled with many literary elements, leading you to question what did exactly happen to the main character at the conclusion. When analyzing a story like "Young Goodman Brown", one must recognize that the story is at whole symbolic. In the text, symbols are used to uncover the truth of the characters. The role of Faith as both a character and a spiritual element are crucial to both the
In the short story “Young Goodman Brown,” a good and proud Puritan man; Goodman Brown, encounters a devil that causes him to become aware of the town he lives in. Goodman Brown believes that a meeting with the Devil cannot change his faith in religion. He desires to find more about his inner domains, but later finds out how hypocritical his town is. He then comes to realization that man is imperfect and defect. Goodman Brown later dies a sore death from the insight of his journey in the forest. In “Young Goodman Brown” Nathaniel Hawthorne uses imagery, symbolism, and allegory throughout the story to question the faith of man. The narrator uses dark and light imagery, people and names to illustrate the irony.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," Hawthorne introduces Goodman Brown, who doubts himself and reiterates his false confidence to himself repeatedly. His struggle between the evil temptations, the devil, and the proper church abiding life, is a struggle he does not think he can handle. This story is about a man who challenges his faith in himself and in the community in which he resides. Goodman Brown must venture on a journey into the local forest, refuse the temptations of the devil, and return to the village before the sunrise.
Young Goodman Brown, as a staunch Calvinist, is seen at the beginning of this allegory to be quite confident that he is going to heaven. The errand on which he is going is presented mysteriously and is usually interpreted to be a deliberate quest of sin. This may or may not be true; what is important is that he is going out to meet the devil by prearrangement. We are told by the narrator that his purpose in going is evil. At the end of his journey, Young Goodman Brown did not lose his faith (we are even told that his Faith survived him); he learned its full and terrible significance. This story is Hawthorne's criticism of the teachings of Puritanic-Calvinism. His implication is that the doctrine of the elect and damned is not a faith
Even though faith is generally used in a positive connotation, Nathaniel Hawthorne knows that faith can be weaponized and used to prosecute adversaries, as it was in the Salem Witch Trials. He had great family history and personal guilt surrounding the events because his grandfather was the only judge who partook in the trials that did not repent for his perpetrations. He wrote this controversial story to invert the trials and made the narrator convict faith and the community instead. The short story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is an allegory that is anchored by the character Faith, Young Goodman Brown’s wife. Faith is both his innocent and angelic physical wife, and a representation
Nathaniel Hawthorne constructs uncertainty throughout Young Goodman Brown by employing plot, point of view, and symbolism. For instance, the deception in plot occur as Young Goodman Brown traverses the threshold. Brown considers Faith to be pure and virtuous; a wicked act to leave such behind. Moreover, while conversing alongside the traveler Brown presumes the ethics of his ancestry and townspeople to be good due to high Faith in people. Brown’s perception shatters as the traveler discloses the sinful acts of the masses.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” these literary devices are used to bring emphasis to Brown’s struggle with his moral and spiritual beliefs. Goodman Brown is challenged with an important decision to keep his faith or follow the temptation of evil. Allegory and symbolism of the pink ribbons, Faith, the staff, and the woods are used by Hawthorne to create an allusion that the town’s people could not be corrupted by evil.
Faith plays a major role in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown”. From the start of his journey to his arrival back home, Faith is always in the back of head, making him question his surroundings and own thoughts. It’s hard to determine when he’s speaking of his lovely wife Faith or his Faith in his God and religion. Through his many
“Young Goodman Brown,” written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1835, is a short story about a man named young Goodman Brown who leaves his wife, Faith, to go on an errand into the woods with the devil. Faith begs Goodman Brown to not leave her alone, but he chooses to go anyways. This short story shows many signs of symbolism, such as the forest, the devil, the staff, the pink ribbons, Faith, sin, and guilt. These symbols help in understanding the story of young Goodman Brown and his unconscious struggle with his religion. The trip not only takes Brown onto a journey of sadness, but also into the deepest parts of his soul. Goodman Brown wishes to enter the dark forest of sin, to satisfy his
Finally, Goodman Brown arrives at the initiation ceremony only to be confronted by the image of his wife at the unholy altar. Although Hawthorne never offers any true evidence that Goodman Brownâs experience in the woods was anything more than a dream or hallucination, the Puritan passes judgment on Faith, and forever doubts her goodness. By allowing his audience to internally assess Faithâs guilt or innocence, Hawthorne forces his reader into a role of complicity with Goodman Brown (McFarland 37). Thus, Hawthorne has created a troubling character with both light and dark facets.
A character arc is essential in any story, showing what the character has gone through and learned. Usually, this process involves the growth and gained knowledge of the character throughout the story, in a good way. However, in the case of ‘Young Goodman Brown”, the character arc is almost backwards in a sense. He does gain knowledge about the society in a bad way and this affects his perception of the town throughout the story. It is evident that in the text, Goodman Brown is mentally toyed with by the devil and the townspeople so much to the point of breaking down near the completion of the story and is not able to tell what is real anymore. This is evident by his relationship with the devil throughout the story, his motivations for following him into the dangers of the forest, and his changed perspective of the townspeople and clergymen concluding the text. The battle between Brown’s id and his ego and superego, relating to Freudian psychology, greatly affects the outcome of the text.
Hawthorne in essence, portrayed Goodman as proof of the nature of evil in man by showing how easily even a young dedicated Puritan can easily be influenced by a complete stranger. This stranger was symbolically the Devil among men in this text. Hawthorne begins introducing the Devil immediately as trying to sway Goodman to follow him on a long journey. By leaving his wife, Faith to begin the journey, Goodman Brown was symbolically leaving his faith in God and entering a forsaken ground by following the Devil. The fact that Goodman Brown left with no regard for his wife Faith’s warning, symbolized the lack of regard for his own faith in God and his fellow human race. This simple disregard that Goodman Brown showed was evidence of the easily persuaded ability of man to choose sin over good.
Throughout the story Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the names of Young Goodman Brown and his wife Faith as symbolic representations. The word ?young? in Goodman Brown?s name gives you the image of an inexperienced, naïve boy who must take on an adventure instead of staying in the comfort of his surroundings. His wife, Faith, tries to stop him by saying, ?Pray thee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed to-night.? (196) Here you see Faith encouraging Goodman Brown?s quest for knowledge to be done in the light (sunrise) instead traveling through the unknown darkness to gain wisdom. Her fear is made clear through the use of light and dark imagery. The use of the words ?good? and ?man? in Goodman Brown names leaves you to wonder if men are really good. My interpretation is that Goodman Brown is not good at all because he falls into the devil's temptation and excepts the baptism. It proves that even the best of men are subject to imperfection.
Goodman Brown’s journey into the woods introduces us into his own religious hypocrisy. His character is described as young and possibly naïve to the true nature of the world, and Goodman Brown considers himself descended from”… a race of honest men and good Christians” (343). However, for unknown reasons, perhaps just out of curiosity, he decides to venture into the woods on a quest of “evil purpose.” Faith, Goodman Brown’s wife, is an important source of symbolism throughout his journey. She is not only his wife, but she is also symbolic of his spiritual faith. Before setting off into the woods Faith begs him not to go and foreshadows that nothing good will come of his trip. Hawthorne uses this scene to emphasize that questioning and straying from his “Faith” for even a night shows that his spiritual faith is much less established than he displays to his wife or the public. It also symbolizes that Goodman Brown had doubted and compromised his faith before he even began his voyage into the woods.
In Young Goodman Brown, the main character, Goodman Brown has a bout with his own faith. He ends up losing this battle because of the wickedness in everyone else’s hearts. He begins by wanting to be the evil one, then progresses to be the faithful one as the night in the woods goes on. His name has a lot to do with the character in the story. The “Young” in his name is to symbolize innocence, and “GOODMAN” is pretty self-explanatory. He goes off in to the woods and comes with a lost faith in everyone else in the town.