The Use of Symbolism in Young Goodman Brown Essay

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“The Use of Symbolism in Young Goodman Brown”

“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
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Young Goodman Brown then finds himself alone in the forest, wondering whether he has awakened from a dream or if he really did attend the witches’ sabbath. Brown chooses to believe that his dream is true, and that everyone around him is involved in witchcraft. “The next morning, young Goodman Brown came slowly into the street of Salem village staring around him like a bewildered man.” (Paragraph 70) Because of this, Brown spends the remainder of his life being, "A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man” (Paragraph 75). Goodman Brown now looks for the devil behind every bush and in the hearts of all those around him, never recognizing that his own soul is now hopelessly corrupt and blind to the light and goodness of God. The forest, the devil and his staff, and Faith and her pink ribbons are the main points to prove young Goodman Brown of a story full of symbolism. There is no doubt that the traveler meeting Brown is the devil and the devils staff is clearly the symbol of a serpent. Faith is both Brown’s wife and religion. The pink ribbons discussed are symbolized as innocence because his faith in God is the right thing to do. Unlike following the devil, which led Brown to sin and guilt. “Ha! ha! ha!” roared Goodman Brown, when the wind laughed at him. “Let us hear which will laugh loudest! Think not to frighten me
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