Young Goodman Brown Allegorical Analysis
When Brown enters the forest to meet with the devil, he enters the supernatural realm. Because Brown is a Puritan, his entering the spiritual realm is symbolic of him entering his own conscious full of evil. As he meets with the devil, Brown becomes aware of his own problems and evils that manifest themselves in the form of his teachers and other prominent people in society. Although his covenant was only that he must meet with devil inside of the forest, Brown chooses to delve into the very depths of the forest where he sees a gathering of witches who symbolize the evil in Brown’s mind. Instead of fleeing, or fighting against the evil, Brown unconsciously allows himself to be immersed in the evil revelry of the witches. As he completely is accepted, he sees Faith at the gathering which is symbolic of the destruction of his faith. When Brown finally leaves the unconscious realm of his mind, he chooses to isolate himself from society when, “[he] looked sternly and sadly into her face, and [he] passed on without a greeting. . .” (Hawthorne, 36) instead of dealing with his internal problems.
Brown’s journey into the forest is a symbol for his meditation to acknowledge the evil inside of him. The devil symbolizes the evil in Brown, but also the evil in every man. The many people he sees following the devil are symbolic of his problems. Faith is a symbol of Brown’s own faith in God, and as he runs into the forest and only finds a ribbon of faith, he is devastated by his loss. He believes that his faith is gone, but he only holds on to a ribbon of her/it. When he finally reaches the meeting, Brown is baptized into the “communion of [his] race.” (34) This symbolizes his complete loss of faith at the sight of the evil that is within him. When Brown finally emerges from his meditation (the forest), he cannot reintegrate into society because he cannot distinguish reality about evil anymore because of his total immersion into it....
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