An analysis of the setting in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown"
In the story of "Young Goodman Brown" setting plays an important role. It provides symbolism to certain events and provokes emotions amongst the characters, especially those of Goodman Brown. The story of "Young Goodman Brown" is that of a man on an adventure to feed his curiosity and to visit the dark side of his Puritan town. Once he arrives at the destination of his adventure, he realizes that many of his elders have followed in the paths of evil and that holiness and innocence has been vanquished from his once thought to be holy Puritan town. The central idea of "Young Goodman Brown," is the conflict in Goodman Brown between joining the devil and remaining "good." It is a very difficult journey for Brown, as he travels through the woods, all the while thinking of the "good" things (like his wife Faith) he would be leaving behind. This internal conflict ultimately destroys the Young Goodman Brown and creates a new man.
At the beginning of the story Goodman Brown sets out on his journey at sunset; to set out at sunset is symbolizing darkness, which in turn symbolizes evil, which begins the setting for the story of "Young Goodman Brown." As Brown is leaving he kisses his wife, Faith, goodbye; the name Faith is intentionally used to symbolize the faith in god that they both share and also what Brown is leaving behind to go on his journey. Brown's wife, Faith, is also wearing pink ribbons in her hair, which give the impression that she is an innocent godly woman. Right before Brown leaves on his journey Faith says, "pr'y thee, put off your journey until sunrise." (309). This is showing that sunrise is a more pleasant and peaceful time to go on a journey rather than at night when it is considered dangerous to lurk about, this then sets the mood for Brown's adventure. The author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, is letting the readers know that something horrible is about to happen to Goodman Brown.
As Brown starts on his adventure he recalls that his wife, Faith, had dreams of this particular adventure, dreams that warned him not to go; this feeling of uncertainty sparks a feeling of anxiety in Brown as he continues walking through the forest and on with his journey. As he walks on, the scenery around him begins to change, "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...