Literary Analysis of Young Goodman Brown
Many aspects of human nature have changed over the centuries, but one thing that people have in common is the temptation of evil. From Adam and Eve eating fruit from the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden to the Iraqi hijackers who flew two airplanes into the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001 killing thousands of innocent people, evil has always been a part of this world. In an effort to portray the corruption of the Salem witch trials, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses his short story “Young Goodman Brown” to exemplify how when people lose faith they thrive in destruction. He uses symbolism throughout the work to show how the protagonist, Young Goodman Brown, transforms from being an innocent, good man to living in hatred and gloom through his journey into the dark forest where he accepts evil. Throughout the writing Hawthorne portrays Young Goodman Brown’s wife, Faith, along with the pink ribbons she wears as a symbol of the protagonist’s religious faith. At the beginning of the story the reader is able to see that Goodman Brown loves his wife dearly, but the simple fact that he wonders into the forest to meet a stranger when Faith strongly urges him to stay home is symbolic of him cheating on his “faith” (p. 420). However, when Goodman Brown first encounters the devil in the forest he states that ‘”Faith kept me back awhile”’ which shows Goodman Brown has not completely given in to the trickery of temptation (par. 12). As the protagonist travels deeper and deeper into the forest he hears Faith’s voice, and when he see’s her pink ribbon caught in a tree he says ‘”[m]y Faith is gone!”’(par. 50). This exemplifies Goodman Brown’s change from innocence to a sinful nature. Towards the end of the work when both Goodman and Faith are being converted to evil ways of life, the protagonist looks at Faith and realizes he made the wrong decision by turning to a sinful nature as he tells her to ‘“resist the Wicked one!”’...
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