Symbolism In Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

685 words - 3 pages

Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" is full of symbolism throughout the story. Perhaps the most interesting examples of symbolism include the title character, Young Goodman Brown, as well as his wife, Faith, and the woods that Young Goodman Brown enters on his journey. Included are many allusions to Christianity and also to evil and sin. These references are expressed mainly through characters and settings in the story.
The character Young Goodman Brown is an excellent example of symbolism being used in a story. First of all, the name Young Goodman Brown implies that he is indeed a good man, which is a reference to his Christian faith. This implies that he is a good man who has the morals and values of a good Christian. Also, the last name Brown implies that he is just an ordinary man with a common last name. This usage of a common last name helps the reader realize that almost anyone could be this man, that he is just as ordinary as anyone else. Additionally, in the beginning of the story, he is referred to as Young Goodman Brown, with the emphasis on Young as a reference to his innocence, and implies that he is without sin. After he enters the woods, however, he is no longer referred to as Young Goodman Brown, just Goodman Brown, as if the innocence and purity he once possessed is with him no longer. He left his wife, Faith, for sin and impurity in the woods, so he no longer deserves the title Young Goodman Brown.
Young Goodman Brown's wife, Faith, is also an important symbol in this story. Her name alone implies that she is a symbol for goodness and the Christian life that Young Goodman Brown leaves behind when he departs on his journey. In the story, it says that she calls out to him and he turns his back on her, which can either be taken...

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