Symbols In Young Goodman Brown

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Young Goodman Brown a story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The tale features a man on a journey through a local forest, his journey becomes more complex and dark with his every step. Thought out the story we find people with very symbolic such as Faith who is Brown's wife, Browns name its self is a big symbol in the length of the tale. Many objects become the focus of symbolism in the story also such as the staff given to him by the elderly man in the woods and the woods themselves are a symbol. The story also focuses on satirizing the puritan lifestyle via symbolism such as the devil congregation resembling a church congregation. Young Goodman Brown is a story swamped with symbolism such as names and objects that allude to what Nathaniel…show more content…
In the tale of Young Goodman Brown many objects allude to underlying themes. Such as the pink ribbon that Faith wears. She wears these ribbons to stand out, feel feminine, and her innocence is accentuated. For Brown her ribbons becomes the symbol between reality and the unreal. For example the fact that Faith appears to be incredibly innocent but in reality she is tainted. The color is a point for discussion “Neither scarlet nor white, but of a hue somewhere between, the ribbons suggest neither total depravity nor innocence, but a psychological state somewhere between. Tied like a label to the head of Faith, they represent the tainted innocence, the spiritual imperfection of all mankind” (Ferguson). Another object that is noted in the story is the serpentine staff that the traveler carried. Snakes are symbolic for being evil, sneaky, and representatives of the devil. It also is explained that “the staff of Brown’s companion is being linked with the opponents of Moses and of the God of Israel. . . . It typifies deformity, evil, all that which fascinates Brown” (Hale 18). For a person to be carrying an object that has such negative connotations alludes the character its self is not to be trusted. His evil is seen when the tale speaks of him making a new staff and his touch causes the twig to wilt as stated in this quote: “to strip it of the twigs and little boughs, which were wet with evening dew. The moment his…show more content…
Such as in the case of Young Goodman Brown; it is set in Salem, Massachusetts a town notorious for witchcraft and evil. It fits in with the story pretty well that has much to do about evil and devil worship. The picture given about Salem in the story is of calm, orderly, and over all normal. Abel explains that Salem was “the center of the witchcraft delusion, in the witching times of 1692, and it shows the populace of Salem Village, those chief in authority as well as obscure young citizens like Brown, enticed by fiendish shapes into the frightful solitude of superstitious fear”. The woods on the other hand, are where everything Brown believes in is turned on his head. He encounters many of his past. It is a representation of a troubled mind, hence the haziness between if the sightings in the woods were real or fictitious. A world outside the norm is the concept of the woods, outside what Brown knows to be right and wrong and definitely outside of his liking. While taking the journey through the woods Brown is figuratively exploring his fears, feelings, and many other things he would not normally acknowledge. Again a sense of exploring his subconscious. His faith is put to satire in these woods by showing a devil congregation that has many of his fellow church goers and is visually very much like a church congregation. This follows the turning on end the rights and wrongs set in Browns’ mind.
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