The Most Dangerous Path. Symbolism Is An Effective Literary

1814 WordsMay 1, 20178 Pages
The Most Dangerous Path Symbolism is an effective literary device that uses characters or objects to represent an idea. It also helps the author to portray complex ideas to the reader through much simpler symbols. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism in almost all of his stories and “his fictional characters’ actions and dilemmas fairly obviously express larger generalizations about the problems of human existence” (Nathaniel Hawthorne 3). “Young Goodman Brown” is not an exception and is riddled with exquisite uses of symbolism. For readers who are willing to go beyond the surface of the story and truly delve into Hawthorne’s symbols in order to discover the intended meaning of the story are in for a real treat. Hawthorne uses a vast…show more content…
He results in only delaying the inevitable by simply stopping. Further into the story, Brown’s faith begins to deteriorate as he recognizes the voice of Deacon Gookin and the minister traveling down the road. After he recognizes them, “Young Goodman Brown caught hold of a tree, for support, being ready to sink down on the ground, faint and overburdened with the heavy sickness of his heart” (Hawthorne 589). This encounter is where “the doubt has begun to gnaw” (Connolly 2) at Brown’s soul. He begins to wonder if the pious deacon and minister are on the same path as him, and if so, why should he turn around. Although he is conflicted, he states, “With Heaven above, and Faith below I will yet stand firm against the devil” (Hawthorne 589). Immediately after he proclaims this, Brown is hit with the final blow. He recognizes his wife’s voice in the forest among many others and then her pink ribbons fall from the sky. As he holds the pink ribbon, Brown cries, “My Faith is gone” (Hawthorne 590). This can be taken both literally and figuratively. Literally, his wife is under the hand of the Devil. He has strong evidence that she is in the forest with the Devil and possibly already at the mysterious ceremony Deacon Gookin and the minister were conversing about previously. Figuratively, Brown’s faith is so worn down because of his trek in the forest that it is no longer found.
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