Comparison of the Young Goodman Brown and the Rocking-Horse Wimmer
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Setting and Symbolism in
The Young Goodman Brown and The Rocking-Horse Winner
The battle between good and evil is as old as Satan’s rebellion against God and his being cast from heaven with his fellow fallen angels that the Bible tells about in the Book of Revelation chapter 12, verses 7-12. Writers of fiction have been using this struggle for just about that long. The short stories The Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and D.H. Lawrence’s The Rocking-Horse Winner illustrate the battle between good and evil with elements of symbol and setting.
Drawn from the author’s Puritan background1, The Young Goodman Brown begins as the protagonist is embarking from his New England village home in the last light of the day, on a journey…show more content… Lawrence, in his modern story, presents a mother who wears a mask with a good mother face that she shows the world. Behind the mask she is eaten up with anger and resentment that she has no money and no luck. Lawrence uses the setting, the house, as a character in this story. The home is haunted, it speaks “There must be more money! There must be more money!”2 It is noteworthy that just as the writer uses an inanimate thing, the house, to personify the evil the mother created from her greedy and thankless spirit, he uses a person to incarnate the corruption of materialism. Paul is at once the symbol of the corruption of evil, he is an adept in the vice of gambling, and he is the face of the innocent victim. Paul really only wants his mother’s love and his luck betting on the races is his attempt to obtain that love.
Just as Paul’s mother in The Rocking-Horse Winner wears a mask, all of Hawthorne’s characters in The Young Goodman Brown wear masks. Lawrence’s character of the mother, wears her mask as a defense against what others may think if they knew who she really is. The masks Hawthorne’s characters wear are a more proactive deception. All of the people Goodman has known and respected his whole life are secretly Satanists and they wear masks of respectability in order to deceive others. There are the pink ribbons that Faith wears on her cap that symbolize innocence and purity as they “play” in the wind at