The Allegorical Nature in Young Goodman Brown
Nathaniel Hawthorne is notable for his works that portray the darkness hiding behind the images of goodness rooted into Puritan society during the 17th century. Hawthorne's image of hidden darkness is emphasized in “Young Goodman Brown,” as a short story published in 1835, about a Puritan man who sets out on an unknown journey only to come to the realization that everyone he knows has sinned in one way or another, causing him to question the righteousness of the people around him. The allegorical nature of Hawthorne’s work is evident in his symbolism throughout the story to ultimately expose the true weakness in humanity.
Hawthorne uses symbolism to show the meaning hidden behind Young Goodman Brown, Faith, and Goody Cloyse. The story begins when a Young Goodman Brown is about to undertake in his unknown journey. His name, although very simplistic, has a deeper allegorical meaning. Young is meant to show that he is somewhat a susceptible man who has yet come to fully realize the world that he exists in because he still believes everybody to be innocent and moral like he is. Goodman is used to represent the pride that Goodman Brown has in himself, believing himself to be a righteous and pure man. Also, the Brown in the character’s name represents the commoner who is no different from anyone else. Altogether, Young Goodman Brown portrays the normal youthful man who believes in the purity of his mind and body, much like every man during his era. Goodman Brown’s wife, Faith, represents the goodly wife who serves as Goodman Brown’s faith in God and goodness. When Goodman Brown arrives 15 minutes late to embark upon his journey, he declares, “Faith kept me back awhile.” (Hawthorne 608) Faith’s name is used ambiguously throughout the story as both the faithful wife and Goodman Brown’s faith in goodness that serves as a shield to protect him from the evils of the world. Although interpreted literally, Brown’s reason for...
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