Allegory And Symbols In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1440 Words6 Pages
Symbols in “Young Goodman Brown” “Young Goodman Brown” is a short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in the 17th century which depicts the human nature and criticizes the ideals of Puritan society by the use of various allegories and symbols. Nathaniel Hawthorne is extremely famous for his obsession with allegories and symbols, that Arlin Turner described him by saying: “In the habit of seeing meanings in everything, he thought in symbols and wrote in symbols” Symbolism for him was not only a way of delivering every connotation, every moral lesson that he wished for the readers to perceive, but also a compatible method to express his sensibilities in his works. Seeing that the whole story is a symbolization of one’s journey through life and loss of innocence, the story is filled to the brim with metaphors and symbols that you can easily make a case that…show more content…
The traveler himself is a figure of ambiguity and allegory, for he resembles Young Goodman Brown in physical aspects yet is presented as a demonic figure. His walking staff, as described as “…his staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent.” bears the resemblance to the staff of Aaron which shapeshifts into snake under the challenge of the Egyptian magicians. The changing of Aaron’s staff is described as a symbolic warning from God in a biblical sense, which ignored resulted in the Plagues of Egypt. This correlation could indicate that the staff of the mysterious man could be a warning for Young Goodman Brown of the “plague” that is to sweep over all his beliefs and interpretations of life. However, there is another insinuation that the serpentine staff is an indication of the devil’s serpent who persuaded Eve to commit sin by eating a forbidden
Open Document