Symbolism In Young Goodman Brown

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Nathaniel Hawthorne often uses symbolism and allegory in his stories. Young Goodman Brown is one story of his that stands out to me with his use of symbolism and allegory. Hawthorne uses symbolism in this story to show us a young man who struggles with the ideas of “good” and “evil”. There are very many examples of symbolism in the story ranging from the names of the characters to Goodman’s journey through the forest. One of the first allegorical devices that Hawthorne uses in Young Goodman Brown is the names of the characters, specifically, Young Goodman Brown and Faith, his wife. One could tell just by looking at the names that there is an obvious symbolic representation in the names. Starting with Browns name, one could automatically assume that “Young” represents the literal meaning. In the story is it apparent that Brown is young in age. His name symbolizes youth and good nature. His youth suggests that he has yet to be corrupted by the rest of the world and still holds on to the innocence that comes along with youth. Brown’s wife, Faith, symbolizes the good things in the world, and some would go as far to say that she represents heaven in this story. “When Brown leaves his wife Faith for the forest, he loses his faith temporarily. He hesitates in the forest and wishes to return to the village for Faith, because he loves his wife Faith dearly and wants to resume his faith in human beings and in God and his religion.” (Zhu) When we are introduced to these characters one already receives an accurate idea that this story is about faith itself. The next allegorical device that Hawthorn uses in Young Goodman Brown is the journey to the forest and the actual forest itself. Hawthorne was raised with a Puritan family, and Puritans believe the forest is ruled by the Devil. The actual journey to the forest could be the most important allegorical device in the entire
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