Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is set in the dark period of Puritan history: the witch-trials. One follows Brown’s reluctant journey into the forest. To the Puritans, the forest has always been a place of evil, and “demonic presence, the ancestral spirits” rest there (Cook). Brown supposedly has a meeting with some witches, but he does not want to be seen with such sort, in fear of being accused of witchcraft. The setting in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” subtly brings out additional meanings through symbolism, ultimately reveals Brown’s personality and values, and drastically shows a change in Brown throughout the journey.
The Devil Figure: Mysterious man who meets Goodman Brown in the forest and accompanies him part way to the witches’ sabbath, where Brown is to be inducted into an evil brotherhood. Minister: Church leader who leads Goodman Brown to the unhallowed baptismal altar in the forest. Deacon Gookin: Salem Churchman who attends the witches' sabbath. Goody Cloyse: Teacher of cathechism who attends the witches' sabbath. Martha Carrier: Salem resident, described as a "rampant hag," who attends the witches'
His wife Faith portrays everything that is pure and holy to Goodman Brown. Goodman Brown is at first very hesitant of his journey in the forest. However, his concern slowly weakens whenever he meets his companion, a character who appears as an image of his dark and evil side. His companion symbolizes the devil, directing him down the road of evil through the forest. He even possessed a staff, “which bore the likeness of a great black snake (246).” The snake-like appearance of the staff symbolizes the cunning and dangerous character of his companion.
“ dearest heart, prithee put off your journey until sunrise and sleep in your own bed tonight. A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts that she’s afraid of herself sometimes”. Young Goodman Brown did not listen and eventually left. By leaving to go into the forest he not only left his wife but it symbolizes him leaving his religion or God behind. Young Goodman Brown’s name is also symbolic, his youth and good nature are symbolized by his name.
“Young Goodman Brown” “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne details the mysteriousness and misfortune of Goodman Brown’s numerous encounters with witchcraft and the devil. Goodman Brown comes face-to-face with a life altering experience when he meets a traveler on the road carrying a serpent staff, who leads him to a suspected witch by the name of Goody Cloyse. They resume their stroll on the road when Goodman Brown decides to take a rest on a tree stump. He ends up with the elder travelers staff, or so he thinks. It is very unclear as to whether his experience at the witch meeting was a dream, or reality.
The hypocrisy of Puritan culture is also highlighted in this story. This story is presented as a journey of Young Goodman Brown which led him in the loss of his faith and virtue. This paper also refers to the story of William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe. This story is written by the author describing the years he spent outside London. This story is based on rationality.
Young Goodman Brown Analysis Young Goodman Brown, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a story of a Puritan man and his journey through the woods one night. With another testament to the inherit flaws in Puritanism, Hawthorne describes a man who is driven crazy after seeing a vision. Puritanism forced so much superstition and fear onto its followers, that even small things would cause them to go crazy, declare people “witches,” and other extreme actions that modern day society frowns upon. Most of the events in the story take place in a wooded area outside of a Puritan town at night. This creates the perfect “spooky” environment for Goodman’s visions.
She shuns the luxuries of her brother’s mansion, for the quiet comforts of Gods creation. She abstains from the town gossip circles, for time alone to allow more time for inner reflection. These characteristics should make her a good role model but instead she is simple labeled as a witch for her peculiarities. She is so misunderstood that even a so-called devil child can see her goodness “What is it, good Mistress Hibbins? (Hawthorne 237)” Mistress Hibbins is a lonely, widower that misses her husband and wants to be with him.
For Amanda the fire escape represents where that special gentlemen will come and rescue her daughter from becoming an old maid. As the other important symbol Williams uses Laura's glass menagerie. It represents Laura's sensitive nature and weakness. She is very innocent, very much like the glass that she polishes and looks at. Breaking of the unicorn symbolizing part of the innocence Laura has lost.
In the short story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, he uses the protagonist Young Goodman Brown as a vehicle to explore and examine critical aspects of the human condition: faith, good and evil, and the power of resolve. He constructs and employs clever charctonyms and symbolism throughout the text. A powerful internal conflict takes place while Young Goodman Brown travels through the forest. He discovers that his minister and the deacon of his congregation are travelling the same path as he is, with the same evil destination. After this faith rattling experience, “He look[s] up at the sky, doubting whether there really was a heaven above him.