Symbolism and Allegory in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay

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The main characters in Hawthorne's story "Young Goodman Brown" are Goodman Brown, his wife Faith and the stranger who accompanies Goodman Brown in the forest. At the beginning of the story Brown is bidding his wife, Faith farewell at their front door. Taking a lonely route into the forest, he meets an older man who bears a fatherly resemblance to both Brown and the Devil. Later that night Brown discovers to his amazement, that many exemplary villagers are on the same path including, Goody Cloyse, a pious old woman who once taught him his catechism, but who readily shows that she certainly knew the Devil and practiced witchcraft. With Brown still confident that he could turn back, his older companion departs, leaving behind his…show more content…
At the end of the story, when Faith eagerly greets her returning husband, she still wears her ribbons. I believe that clearly Hawthorne meant them to be suggestive, an exponent of one or of several of the themes of his tale. One of the things that I am sure about is that if one follows the motif as it guides us to related symbols is to probe the complex interweaving of ideas within the story. Specifically, one sees that the mystery of the pink ribbons is, at least among other things, an exponent of the mysteries of theology. Since the Puritan setting of "Young Goodman Brown" is basic to the story, we can expect that some of its thematic patterns derive from traditional Christian concepts. Readers generally assume that Goodman Brown loses faith, either in Christ or in human beings, or in both. Thomas E. Connolly has argued, on the other hand, that the story is an attack on Calvinism and that faith (that is, faith) is not lost in the story; on the contrary, he says, Goodman Brown is confirmed in his faith, made aware of "its full and terrible significance." I however, do not agree with this statement fully, however, either way- loss of faith or still firmer belief, we see the story in a theological context. I strongly believe that if we extend this theological view of "Young Goodman Brown," by following the exponents of faith, hope and charity
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