Young Goodman Brown Analysis

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Analysis of Fiction: “Young Goodman Brown” By: Nathaniel Hawthorne

The short story “Young Goodman Brown,” follows the dream of a Puritan man in Salem. In the dream, Goodman Brown comes face to face with the devil who shows him the real evil in man. Throughout the story, Goodman Brown is put to the test in his own faith and must try to overcome evil. The author, Nathaniel Hawthorne uses actions, objects and people from the story as a meaning that lies outside the story itself. There are symbols in the story to help reveal the many themes to the reader. The largest symbolic roles in the story are the characters’ names, “Goodman Brown” and his wife “Faith”. Both of the characters' names are symbolic and resemble their personalities. Goodman Brown truly is a man of God and resists temptation against evil. Goodman brown cried, “‘With Heaven above and Faith below, I will stand firm against the devil”(269). His strength of character shows how the name “Goodman” relates to his personality of himself and his faith in God. As the story begins, Goodman Brown says goodbye to his wife, Faith, before going on his long journey. As Hawthorne writes, “Faith as the wife [is] aptly named,” (264) gives the reader a certain clue that she too, has a name that fits appropriately and reveals her true nature. Hawthorne writes, “[She] thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap while she called to Goodman Brown”(264). The pink ribbons that Faith is wearing also symbolize purity and faith. When saying goodbye to his wife, it also means that he is saying goodbye to his own faith. The theme that is shown through Faith’s character is that the truth is always questionable. Goodman Brown is questioning his own faith even though he has been practicing his religion his whole life. In addition, faith is believing even when one is put to the highest possible test. Goodman Brown was put to the test of faith...
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