October 20, 2017
Color Imagery in “Young Goodman Brown”
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” the author utilizes white and black for color imagery to portray Brown’s view of the world before, during, and after his journey, in regards of good and evil. Prior to Brown’s journey, he has a white perspective of the world because all he sees around him is pure morality in terms of faith. Throughout his journey, Brown discovers malicious deeds and begins to see pure evil, leading him to have a black perspective of the world. After his journey, he only sees a black world and cannot see any good from within.
Prior to taking a journey into the woods, Brown appears to see the world in white through color imagery, as he believes there is only good on earth. He is puzzled about his faith but he still manages to maintain a good perspective of the world. Brown’s convincement of the good there exists is seen when the author points out, “My father never went into the woods . . . nor his father before him. We have been a race of honest men and good Christians . . .” (Hawthorne). Brown immediately defends the men of his family by asserting that his people have upheld the reputation of great Christian men. He cannot see with clarity because he blindly believes that there is only good. Thus, he sees a white world and he does not resign himself to accept that there is also evil. Brown’s beliefs thus far in life and along the journey indicate that he has only perceived the world as white.
While still on his journey, Brown makes discoveries that bring him to question the good that exists. The discoveries lead him to start to see the world as a black space through color imagery. Brown is even more puzzled now and shocked at the people and odd things he sees in the woods, which pushes him to believe that in fact there is more beyond good. Hawthorne emphasizes the anger Brown feels towards his shocking new discovery by saying, “There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name . . .” (Hawthorne). Brown is devastated with the discoveries he makes after he takes the route into the forest. He is assured now that evil indeed exists and he now has a black image of the world.
When Brown completes his journey and returns to the village, he sees just a black world through color imagery. He is now trapped believing in the presence of only evil. The author illustrates, “. . . the congregation...