In Hawthorne’s short story, Young Goodman Brown’s journey in the forest is a lesson that, through the use of symbols, portrays the thought that all men are sinners at heart. The idea that faith being both his wife and his actual belief in religion cannot keep temptation away forever is made clear in the beginning of the story. In his colloquy with the devil, the goodman says “‘Faith kept me back a while,’ replied the young man, with tremor in his voice, caused by the sudden appearance of his companion, though not wholly unexpected” (Hawthorne 1). From this quote, it is evident that his wife Faith, being a symbol of his religious faith, did not want him to accompany the devil to the forest,
Despite their friendship, however, Huck still doubts helping Jim escape. Huck wants to, “write a letter to Tom Sawyer and tell him to tell Miss Watson where [Jim] was.”(page 213 Twain). Huck feels bad about helping Jim runaway. He feels like he, “Was stealing a poor old woman’s N. that hadn 't ever done [him] no harm.”(page 213 Twain). He begins thinking about Mrs. Watson and her religion, thinking he would go to hell for helping Jim get away.
At the time the forests, were seen as the home and witches and devils, aware of this Goodman Brown willingly enters. He witnesses the most upstanding members of his community participate in witchcraft. Brown observes even the most innocent person he knows, his wife Faith, participate. His perspective is altered to a position, he can not amend regardless of the His Faith, actually implies a double meaning, his wife whose innocence he clasps onto and his faith in God which he is determined to keep even after seeing Church members disrespect his God. Brown who once showered her with affection, “looked sternly and sadly into her face, and passed on without a greeting.” His perspective of his wife shifts from loving and respecting her, to being ashamed and not being able to talk to her.
After running from the police when johnny stabbed Bob a soc they find themselves in an abandoned church. When Ponyboy returns to society after being in the hospital. He finds himself meeting with Randy, Bob's best friend. Pony is suppried when Randy tells him that he's sorry for Pony and how Bob's parents never gave him limits. This changes Pony’s belief that all socs were evil because”Randy was too cool to feel anything yet there was pain in his eyes.”(116)Pony continues to hate the socs but this changes his view on the socs and reminds him they're human too.
In the two short stories, “Young Goodman Brown,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “The Prodigal Son,” by St. Luke there is a parallel struggle of faith. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown” is a very dark tale of mystery and deceit that surrounds a young man’s test of true faith in his battle against the evil one. In the parable of “The Prodigal Son,” Christ gives the reader a picture of God’s unfailing love toward His children and His ever constant surrounding presence. Faith is tested in each of these stories and the choice becomes to either succumb to this evil world, turn to God, or perhaps something else altogether. Although each story differs in climactic endings, both protagonists in each story reflect the struggle of one’s very soul by their reluctance to fully submit to God.
In the short story “Young Goodman Brown”, dual meaning symbols are found throughout. From the naming of the characters, to the use of inanimate articles, and even Young Goodman Brown’s journey itself. All these dual meaning symbols are used to epitomize the eternal conflict between good and evil. The character in the story with the most obvious dual meaning name is Young Goodman Brown’s wife, Faith. An example of “Faiths” duplicity is when Young Goodman Brown says, “My love and my Faith, of all nights in the year, this one I must tarry from thee.” Brown is moving away from his wife and losing faith in his fellow peers.
She implores him to stay for this night in particular, but he sadly informs her it must be this night. After he has met up with the devil, and he is journeying through the forest he wavers in his purpose. The devil, to reassure him, begins to tell him of all the previous Puritans ( some even his own family) that have walked this same trail before him. “He lets the Devil 's true statements about the mistreatment of Indians and Quakers prepare him to accept counterfeit evidence”(Levin, 693 ) It is easy to see why Goodman Brown would be wary of this commitment considering his strong Puritan neighbors and friends; however, he agrees to go through with the proposition. Once gathered at the meeting place, he begins to recognize many prominent men and women from his society performing lewd and unseemly acts.
. .when the congregation was singing a holy psalm, he could not listen, because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear, and drowned out all the blessed strain” (Hawthorne 357). Here readers are shown that Goodman Brown is trying to stay and stick with Puritanism. Goodman Brown seems to be trying to get over what he witnessed in the forest, and continue on being a good Puritan. Yet when the first holy psalm is being sung, he cannot bring himself to do so and only remembers the sins he has done.
Hawthorne uses symbolism throughout the story to explore moral and spiritual issues taking the character young Goodman Brown on a journey from innocence and faith to the dark side of distrust and evil. The elder (the devil) who carries the staff could be considered the leader in the story as he takes Brown into the woods in an attempt to lead him astray or away from faith and innocence. Young Goodman Brown makes the personal choice to go into the woods, which is an individual decision with consequences. This action led to his fall even if it was helped by the devil. In the beginning of the story, Young Goodman Brown describes his father and grandfather as being religious and having high moral character which indicates how his society values the traits.
The most important symbol is the forest in the direction of which young Goodman Brown is heading. Obscure and mysterious, it is associated with hell, and indeed, the guide on the man 's itinerary through the woods is Devil himself, looking like Goodman 's ancestors and pretending to be his friend. The forest is opposed to the village, where the man 's wife, Faith (a symbolic name, as well, but the meaning is on the surface, there is nothing to explain), is waiting for him. She fails persuading him to give up the upcoming venture, which the young man uptakes only out of curiosity, according to Hawthorne. In the fiendish woods the Devil approaches to young Goodman Brown and succeeds in tempting him to keep up with the journey.