New Criticism of Young Goodman Brown

Topics: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown, Mosses from an Old Manse Pages: 3 (965 words) Published: December 18, 2012
Alicia Perkins ENGL-203: Writing About Literature Oct. 17, 2012 Imagery and Irony in “Young Goodman Brown”

Nathaniel Hawthorn uses irony in the story of “Young Goodman Brown” to portray the fact that although people may appear good on the outside, they all have some sort of evil inside of them. Hawthorne also uses descriptive imagery to discuss this evil in the characters and in the forest. Hawthorne uses his imagery to portray Goodman Brown’s dark venture into this evil, with vivid descriptions of the forest and of the witching ceremony. He uses irony when referring to the people involved in the ceremony and the people in Young Goodman Brown’s life. He also uses his irony with the name and word “Faith”: referring to both Young Goodman Brown’s wife and his spiritual faith. The word “Faith” has a lot of symbolic meaning to the main character. Hawthorne uses all of these aspects to tell a story of a man venturing into the woods to complete an evil deed.

The use of the color red was one of the things that stuck out to me most when reading “Young Goodman Brown. Hawthorne uses it frequently throughout the story. “As the red light arose and fell, a numerous congregation alternately shone forth, then disappeared in the shadow, and again grew, as it were, out of the darkness, peopling the heart of the solitary woods at once.” (401) Red is a color often associated with evil and the devil. Hawthorne uses the color red to show the evil in the forest and the evil surrounding the meeting place.

Hawthorne also uses descriptive imagery and the color red when discussing the center of the forest, where the ceremony takes place. “Thus sped the demoniac on his course, until, quivering among the trees, he saw the red lights before him, as when the felled trunks and...
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