Motifs In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is an inspiring short story following the life of a young husband, Mr. Goodman Brown, and the tragic event that made his life forever miserable. Set in Salem Massachusetts during the late 18th century, Hawthorne uses an abundance of symbols to represent his motifs for writing his story. Furthermore, “Young Goodman Brown” is ultimately a story demonstrating the internal struggle between good and evil, and the temptations each person faces. The first symbol heavily emphasized by the narrator is the Devil’s staff, which is described as “…a great black snake, so curiously wrought that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent.” Likened to a snake or serpent, the…show more content…
The pink ribbons put in Faith’s hair represent her purity and innocence. The color pink is commonly referred to as the color of hope: it is a “positive” color and usually inspires feelings of comfort and warmth. In addition, ribbons themselves are a modest decoration; easily incorporated into the story. Hawthorne mentions Faith’s pink ribbons several times at the beginning of the story, “’Then God bless you!’ said Faith, with the pink ribbons; ‘and may you find all well when you come back.’". Later in the story, Hawthorne reintroduces the ribbons when Goodman Brown is doubting the goodness in his fellow puritans, “It was strange to see that the good shrank not from the wicked, nor were the sinners abashed by the saints.” When the pink ribbon flutters down from the sky,” something fluttered lightly down through the air and caught on the branch of a tree. The young man seized it, and beheld a pink ribbon.” Brown interprets it as a sign that Faith is gone and there is “no good on earth!” At the end of the story, Faith greets Brown upon his return to Salem; still wearing her pink ribbons. With the pink ribbons still adorning her cap Hawthorne attacks the truthfulness of the entire story as written through the eyes of Goodman Brown. Another way that Hawthorne demonstrates his point is through themes like the weakness of morality. Hawthorne reveals what he sees as the flaws that result from the
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