Vivid Imagery Within "Young Goodman Brown"

945 words - 4 pages

Nathaniel Hawthorne's skillful portrayal of the 17th century New England countryside in "Young Goodman Brown" is the perfect backdrop for this devilish tale. Hawthorne is able to create a seamless environment in which the characters move about freely and purposely, while maintaining the historical integrity of the time period. The setting is able to come alive and become it's own unique character and play an important part in the story. Hawthorne masterfully uses adjectives such as: dreary, darkened, and gloomiest help provoke mental pictures of 17th century Puritan life. The setting throughout Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" not only provides the reader with vivid visuals, but is able to tell a story of it's own.The journey of Goodman Brown begins in Salem Village. Salem Village itself embodies an eerie since in regards to the witch trials and executions that were held there during this time period. Goodman Brown says goodbye to his wife of only three months and begins a journey that not only questions his faith in God, but his mental rigidity as well. However, Faith, Goodman Browns wife, calls him back and insists that he stay home tonight since she has had a bad dream about this journey. Faith whispers softly "prithee put off your journey until sunrise and sleep in your own bed to-night" (Hawthorne 268). With this passage Hawthorne begins to lay the groundwork for the eerie setting to come and foreshadows the evil that awaits Young Goodman Brown. Faith's words fall onto deaf ears and Young Goodman Brown heads off on his journey into the darkened woods of New England. Hawthorne describes the path taken by Goodman Brown as a "...dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest..." (268). Hawthorne uses words masterfully to paint the reader a picture of the environment that Goodman Brown is embarking into. This allows the reader to feel the exact same emotions that Goodman Brown is feeling as he ventures deeper into the darkened woods. As Young Goodman Brown proceeds into the woods, Hawthorne states "The road grew wilder and drearier and more faintly traced, and vanished at length, leaving him in the heart of the dark wilderness" (273). Hawthorne uses this to show how the evil is surrounding him as he ventures deeper into the woods. Hawthorne also uses this passage to describe the ever-thickening forest, but it also symbolizes Goodman Browns feeling of loneliness and inability to turn back. Goodman Browns journey through the woods is merely the rising action of the story. Hawthorne's description and almost cryptic portrayal of the path is used to symbolize mans journey through life. The old saying "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" seems to come alive during this story. The vivid...

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