Young Goodman Brown

1144 Words Apr 10th, 2011 5 Pages
In this extract from “Young Goodman Brown”, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism, imagery and point of view to depict Goodman Brown’s eventual journey from naivety in man’s purity of faith to recognition of man’s disposition to evil. It reveals Brown’s misplaced faith in man, who is deficient, instead of God. In the dialogue that ensues between the minister and Deacon Gookin, we learn of an impending meeting expecting participants hailing from “Falmouth and beyond... Indian powows” (Hawthorne 26). The geographical listing hints at the far-reaching influence of the devil. By including the Indians, Hawthorne subtly contrasts the inclusiveness of this heathen community versus the exclusivity of the Puritan community. This perhaps also …show more content…
The imagery of “stars brightening” above when doubts and confusion begins to overcome Brown symbolises hope (Khoo 16) in the midst of doom and gloom. This hope leads Brown to make a penultimate declaration of resistance, clinging on to Faith, his wife, who represents a tangible symbol of his faith as his strength of this resolve. Once again, we see his misplaced faith in a being instead of the Divine. This perhaps is a foretelling of the imminent lose of Brown’s faith since Faith, being human is deficient. This symbolic spark of hope is overshadowed almost immediately by a “black mass of cloud” (26). The alliteration in “hurried across.....hid the brightening star” and “sweeping swiftly” both emphasise the quick movements of the cloud to cast a shadow over the clear sky. Apart from signifying the omnipresence of evil and its great influence over mankind, it also foreshadows another episode of looming devastation to Brown’s weakened faith.

Later on in the extract, Brown hears again, sound of voices of familiar townsfolk blending in with the “murmur of the forest” as if attesting to the embodiment of both the devil and his followers. Hawthorne skilfully weaves in the aural imagery of a cacophony of sounds juxtaposed against a single utterance of a young woman to create a sense of the internal spiritual chaos welling up within

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