Symbolism of Faith in Young Goodman Brown

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Symbolism is an author’s method of associating the representation of a person, event, or thing with a much broader idea or range of ideas without losing the symbols literal meaning. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, Young Goodman Brown, Hawthorne uses people and objects to allegorically reveal an abstract truth to his audience. However, the largest symbolic role that Hawthorne cast in this particular story was Faith, Goodman Brown’s wife. In his story, Hawthorne illustrates a Puritan man, Goodman Brown, going on a journey to spiritual experience. Before setting on his journey, Goodman Brown had to leave his wife, Faith, behind. Little did he know his wife was not the only thing that Goodman Brown had to leave behind. In the story Young Goodman Brown, the character Faith takes on a double meaning unbeknownst to the main character, Goodman Brown. To Goodman Brown, Faith refers to both his wife and his spiritual faith. One of the earliest representations of this double meaning is in the third paragraph of the story. When replying back to his wife Goodman Brown says, “My love and my Faith.” The literal intent of this phrase is for his love and faith to refer to the same object, his wife. However, by Hawthorne adding the word “and” into this phrase he separates the two entities, his love from his faith. They are both no longer referring to his wife but rather his love is referring to his wife and his Faith is referring to his spiritual faith. In the opening paragraph Hawthorne illustrates Goodman Brown and his wife standing on either sides of a doorway. This doorway symbolizes a division between good and evil. On one side of the doorway there is his wife, Faith, who is trying to persuade her husband to forget about his journey and come back and join her. This can be interpreted as Faith trying to convince her husband to not walk away and rejoin her and her double meaning,

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