Ambiguity in Young Goodman Brown
Summary: The story "Young Goodman Brown" is portrayed as a straight forward tale of a man on a venture. It is not overly difficult to comprehend or interpret, however it does have several great ambiguities. ________________________________________
"Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting? (387)" The story "Young Goodman Brown" is portrayed as a straight forward tale of a man on a venture. It is not overly difficult to comprehend or interpret, however it does have several great ambiguities. As Hawthorne's tale has a great deal of symbolism, it is all in retrospect to the ambiguous entities within the tale. The formalistic approach will be used to analyze the ambiguities in the story, mainly focusing upon the use of dark and light contrasts. The questions of why did Goodman Brown leave his wife Faith and venture into the forest and was his journey into the forest a reality or a dream bring a grand weight of ambiguity upon the shoulders of this tale. First, I would like to go into question of Goodman Brown's choice to enter the woods. As I look into the story and why Brown would have ventured into the forest, I look at two perspectives. The first being that the journey into the forest acted as a spiritual task that Goodman Brown felt he must complete. On page 377 it states that, "having kept covenant by meeting thee here, it is my purpose now to return whence I came. " This could be his way of proving himself worthy in some way due to the fact that he say that neither his father nor his grandfather had completed his task at hand. The second idea is in the reasoning that Hawthorne had simply utilized it as the setting and forged the story around the forest and its characterized darkness and evil notions compared to that of the town which is light and absent of evil until Goodman Brown returns. This is a definite formalistic observation in the contrast of forest and the town....
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