Faith in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

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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 …show more content…

Because Faith was so honest, Young Goodman Brown put all of his faith in her, making a heroin of his worst enemy. Faith attempts to hold Brown back from his journey, yet for reasons unknown, he insists upon going. As Young Goodman Brown embarks on a journey into the forest without Faith, he also leaves behind his faith in society. Repeated images of the road Brown takes and the dark forest around him, add to the allegory. “He had taken a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind. It was all as lonely as could be, and there is this peculiarity in such a solitude, that the traveler knows not who may be concealed by the innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overhead, so that with lonely footsteps he may yet be passing through an unseen multitude.” (Hawthorne 198). As Brown wanders down the dark foreboding path that closes behind him, the potential for spiritual danger arises, foreshadowing the loss of his spiritual faith.
In the forest, Young Goodman Brown meets with a man who is hinted as the devil. Upon their meeting, the devil comes out and asks Goodman Brown what took him so long to get there and he replies "Faith kept me back awhile." (Hawthorne 198). This statements double meaning explains that Brown’s wife physically prevented him from being on time for his meeting with the devil, but his faith

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