The Allegorical Nature Of “Young Goodman Brown”

1050 words - 4 pages

Nathaniel Hawthorne is a man of a long American history. He was born in Salem, Massachusetts to the Hathorne family, who date back to the original Puritans of America. In fact, Hawthorne added the 'W' to his last name to differentiate himself from John Hathorne, a prominent judge in the Salem Witch Trials. Hawthorne is a well known American Gothic author of the Romantic period; some of his commonly known works are: “The Scarlet Letter,” “The House of Seven Gables,” and “Young Goodman Brown”(Meltzer). The Romantic period was a period when the population at large focused on: the supernatural, an impulse to reform, the celebration of life, nature, and the idealization of woman(The Romantic Period) Hawthorne's short story “Young Goodman Brown” can be classified as a moral allegory, because it is a story that has two levels of meaning: literal and symbolic. The allegorical nature of “Young Goodman Brown” is evident throughout the story due to Hawthorne's use of imagery and symbolism to ultimately ridicule the true weakness in American religion. The important symbols of the story are: the different characters themselves, the setting of the story being in Salem, and Brown's journey through the forest.
The most prominent use of imagery and symbolism is in the way Hawthorne conveys his characters. Hawthorne begins his story with a religious allegory by introducing Young Goodman Brown's wife, who was “aptly named” Faith(Hawthorne 329). Hawthorne vividly describes Faith as having pink ribbons in her hair, and as a believer of God, to paint an image of innocence. In the beginning scene of the story, when Young Goodman Brown says goodbye to Faith, she parted ways with the final words of “then God bless you, and may you find all well, when you come back”(Hawthorne 330). As Brown leaves for his journey he realizes he is doing wrong by going on this journey, but he promises himself when he gets back, he is going to “cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven”(Hawthorne 330). It is apparent at this point in the story that Faith, is a physical and symbolic representation of Brown's faith. Young Goodman Brown himself, symbolizes young, good men, who are tempted by sin, and to some extent all give in. Brown believes that even though his trip into the forest is for evil purposes, it is justifiable because it will be an “excellent resolve for the future”(Hawthorne 330). Brown is an allegorical symbol because if Brown would have stayed with Faith in the beginning of the story, instead of giving into the temptation of the Devil's forest, Brown would still have his faith, and his innocence. The Devil himself serves as an allegorical symbol, because he tempts Brown to leave the safety of his home for the dangers of the forest. The reader of the story is able to inquire that the old man Brown is introduced to is the devil, due to his “great black, [lifelike] snake” staff(Hawthorne 331). When Brown and the Devil initially meet, the Devil notes that Brown is late, and...

Find Another Essay On The Allegorical Nature of “Young Goodman Brown”

The Symbolism of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2868 words - 11 pages The Symbolism of “Young Goodman Brown”            Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown,” shows the reader the author’s power as a symbolist.   Frederick C. Crews in “The Logic of Compulsion in ‘Roger Malvin’s Burial’” explores the symbology that prevails in Hawthorne’s best short stories:   . . . I chose this one tale to analyze because it illustrates the indispensability, and I should even say the

The Structure of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2046 words - 8 pages “Young Goodman Brown” – the Structure                Q. D. Leavis in “Hawthorne as Poet” mentions Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” as “essentially dramatic” : “The first batch of works I specified [including “Young Goodman Brown”] is essentially dramatic, its use of language is poetic, and it is symbolic, and richly so, as is the dramatic poet’s. . . “ (27) This essay will examine this and other features of the structure of

The Setting of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1678 words - 7 pages The Setting of “Young Goodman Brown”      This essay will examine the main physical settings within Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown.” These are four in number and begin and end in the village of Salem. The tale opens at Goodman and Faith Brown’s house, in the doorway where the protagonist is telling his wife goodbye, and where she is trying to dissuade him from his planned adventure on this particular night

Criticism of Young Goodman Brown

1711 words - 7 pages Review of Selected Criticism of "Young Goodman Brown"Kavis Fleming (VCU, 1995)Baym, Nina. "Thwarted Nature: Hawthorne as Feminist." Nathaniel Hawthorne: A Study of the Short Fiction. Edited by Nancy Bunge. New York: Twayne, 1993.This chapter looks at "Young Goodman Brown" from the perspective of the female characters. Baym notes that the protagonists, usually male, reject any sexual relationship with a woman, ordinarily the wife or fiancee (136

Summary of Young Goodman Brown

751 words - 3 pages Young Goodman Brown is about to take a journey through the gloomy woods. As he sets off, his wife of three months pleads with him not to go because she has dreamed that something bad is going to happen while he is gone. He tells her, "Say thy prayers, dear Faith, and go to bed at dusk, and no harm will come to thee." He does think about staying and not going on his errand, but talks himself out of it saying that after this one trip he will stay

Setting Of Young Goodman Brown

635 words - 3 pages Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a short story in which Hawthorne describes the evil experiences of Young Goodman Brown while travelling through a forest. The story is set in the town of Salem, Massachussettes in the early eighteenth century. It was the era of the Puritans, an age of reasoning. In this story,The whole story takes place in the darkness after dusk. Hawthorne uses the darkness of night, the town os Salem (popular for

Hawthorne's use of the narrator in Young Goodman Brown

777 words - 3 pages In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," the story is told through the eyes of a limited omniscient third-person narrator. This style is very accommodating to the story because it allows the author perfect opportunities to express his points. The narrator can both describe what Goodman Brown is doing, and also evaluate and comment on the characters actions. This is a tool of the author to use the narrator to express his own personal

"Young Goodman Brown" Analysis

1140 words - 5 pages closer to pure sin (Themes, Motifs, and Symbols). In the opening paragraphs of the story, we do not yet know the nature of the impending mysterious journey into the forest, but Hawthorne skillfully generates a great sense of urgency (Ryken). When Faith tries to get her husband to take his journey into the forest during the daylight, he replies, "My journey, as thou callest it, must needs be done 'twixt now and sunrise." (Young Goodman Brown

The Notions of Death and Sin in “Young Goodman Brown”

1090 words - 4 pages “Young Goodman Brown”, by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a symbolic journey through a young Puritan man’s soul. The protagonist, young Goodman Brown, treks into the dark and gloomy forest, which can also symbolize a retreat into his own being. As a Puritan, Brown believes he can resist all evil, which led him to feel “justified in making more haste on his present evil purpose” (Hawthorne, 14). On his journey Brown meets a man on the side of

The Internal Conflicts of Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

2520 words - 10 pages referring to when he shouted this but this reference is for both the religious conviction and the most prominent religious figure in Young Good Man Brown's life. Young Good Man Brown was overwhelmed by the truth.The law of nature that states that everything is not what it seems to be hit him like a bullet to the chest.A rality check was all it took to pushh young Goodman brown over the edge.After shouting the words he then sets off through the brush at

The Appeal of Satanism in Young Goodman Brown

740 words - 3 pages religion. Dr. Faustus sells his soul to the Devil in return for worldly success. Macbeth deals with the witches for their aid in prophesying his future. Even King Solomon consults a witch to assist the Israeli forces in battle. Yet, there are no real benefits to satanic worship. Any earthly gains are offset by eternal damnation. There must be some inherent appeal to Satan worship in the human psyche. Young Goodman Brown demonstrates the appeal of Satan

Similar Essays

Allegorical Analysis Of Faith In Nathaniel Hawthorne's &Quot;Young Goodman Brown&Quot;

806 words - 3 pages In "Young Goodman Brown" Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism to effectively create the desired allegorical context. Having been published in 1835, the lasting effect of 17th century Puritanism played a significant role in the short story as it did in The Scarlet Letter and other works by Hawthorne as well (Shoemaker). Among the most commendable aspects of Hawthorne's writing is his obscure style that allows the reader to make his own

The Tragedy Of Young Goodman Brown

803 words - 3 pages ; (2264). This assumes that there is also a hidden nature within seemingly holy communities. The sounds of music that resembled hymns surrounded the air, sounding angelic and yet seemingly demonic, and the conversion ritual itself, the one that took his own Faith, is probably similar to the conversion rituals he has attended in the past.Hawthorne’s theme of duplicity is emphasized throughout Young Goodman Brown’s revelations in the

The Empiricist Journey Of Young Goodman Brown

1634 words - 7 pages ideology and assess whether Young Goodman Brown qualifies. The Encyclopaedia Brittanica gives 4 major ideas about empiricist experience based upon their ideology. These views are shared by Locke and many other empiricists. The first is that: Experience is intelligible in isolation, or atomistically, without reference to the nature of its object or to the circumstances of its subject. Hence an experience can be described without saying

The Theme Of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2375 words - 10 pages The Theme of Young Goodman Brown             This essay intends to develop an interpretation of the theme of “Young Goodman Brown”.   To come by a clear notion of the theme of  “Young Goodman Brown” is no easy task, thanks to the confusing style of the author. As A.N. Kaul says in the “Introduction” to Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays:   Because Hawthorne was much given to evasions, mystifications, and