Allegorical Elements In Young Goodman Brown

Young Goodman Brown is an allegory about the dangers of losing faith. Hawthorne uses symbols and images to show how Young Goodman Brown’s loss of faith leads him down a dark path. The allegory is also about how we can all find darkness within ourselves if we are not careful.

Goodman Brown starts out as a young, naïve man who believes that he can do no wrong. He is outgoing and loves spending time with his wife, Faith. However, one night he has a dream in which he sees Faith talking with the Devil. This dream shakes Goodman Brown’s faith and causes him to lose trust in both himself and in those around him.

He becomes paranoid and suspicious of everyone, even his own wife. He starts to live in a world of his own, where no one is trustworthy. This eventually leads to Goodman Brown committing terrible acts, such as murdering an innocent man.

The story ends with Goodman Brown realizing that he has been living in a world of illusion and that the darkness within himself was always there. He is finally able to forgive himself and find redemption.

An allegory is a work of fiction in which all the elements are subordinate to one central idea and are represented as symbols for abstract notions in order to express it. The relationship between these symbols produces an explicit statement on human nature or relationships, usually in moral, religious, or political terms. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses an allegory to encompass the entire definition of this word.

But the names are not the only places where Hawthorne forces his symbols to stand in for more than themselves. The characters’ clothing, behavior, and even the setting all work together to create an allegory with a didactic purpose.

The first layer of Hawthorne’s allegory that we see is the level of character symbols. Young Goodman Brown is, obviously, a symbol for youthfulness and naivete. He is named such because he is young and good, two things that will be taken away from him by the end of the story. Faith is Young Goodman Brown’s wife, and her name could not be more apt.

She represents Brown’s faith, both in religion and in humanity. Her role in the story is to be a symbol of temptation, and she ultimately fails in that role. Goody Cloyse is another character who represents faith, but in this case it is faith in the devil. She is a symbol of hypocrisy, and her name reflects that: cloyse means “to please greatly”. Hawthorne uses these characters to explore the different types of faith that people can have.

The setting of Young Goodman Brown plays an important role in the allegory as well. The woods are a place of darkness and evil, while the town is a place of light and order. This dichotomy between good and evil is represented throughout the story. The most obvious representation of this dichotomy comes at the end of the story, when Young Goodman Brown returns to the town after his journey into the woods.

The town is still bathed in light, while the woods are dark and foreboding. Hawthorne uses this dichotomy to explore the idea of sin. The town represents all that is good and pure, while the woods represent all that is evil and corrupt. Young Goodman Brown must choose which side he wants to be on, and by the end of the story he has chosen the side of darkness.

Hawthorne’s use of symbols in Young Goodman Brown creates an allegory that explores human nature in a moral, religious, and political context. The characters represent different aspects of human faith, while the setting represents good and evil. Hawthorne’s purpose in creating this allegory is to explore the idea of sin and its effects on humans.

The names are either ironic (with Goody Cloyse turning out to be a witch) or literal (with Faith blatantly representing faith). So when Young Goodman Brown refers to his wife as “Poor, little Faith” by which he’ll ascend to heaven clinging to her skirts, the author is disclosing Goodman Brown’s own faith: fragile and distinct from his own self. The clothes of characters are also symbols that represent the story. Goodman Brown’s companion walks with a staff carved in the shape of a snake, identifying him as the Devil.

In Young Goodman Brown, Hawthorne uses the Devil as a symbol for the evil that exists in the hearts of men, and Faith’s innocence is represented as the good that still remains in the world. As Goodman Brown walks deeper into the forest, he meets more grotesque characters, each one representing an aspect of his own depraved nature. The most significant encounter is with the Black Man, who represents not only sin, but also death. In Young Goodman Brown, Hawthorne suggests that there is no way to escape the darkness inside ourselves, and that even our closest relationships are not immune to its influence.

The story concludes with Young Goodman Brown returning home to find that his wife has not been sleeping in their bed. He assumes the worst, that she has succumbed to the evil he has witnessed in the forest. In reality, Faith has been waiting for her husband, and the author suggests that perhaps Goodman Brown’s experience was all a dream. However, the final image of Young Goodman Brown looking “sternly and sadly into her face, and passing on without a word”(Hawthorne 1991, 58) suggests that he has been changed by what he has seen, and that his faith has been forever shaken.

Allegory in Young Goodman Brown is used to represent the internal struggles of man, and the battle between good and evil. Hawthorne uses symbols and imagery to tell the story, and the characters represent different aspects of human nature. The story concludes with Young Goodman Brown realizing that the evil he has seen in the forest is also present in his own heart, and that no one is immune to its influence. Young Goodman Brown is a story about faith, and Hawthorne suggests that it is always possible for good to overcome evil.

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