The Path of Sin
In Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorn, the author uses symbolism to establish the theme that evil prevails. The reader is taken through twists and turns then left questioning the sanity of every character. Naturally people try to do right by man, yet most end up falling head first down the path of sin.
Hawthorn refers to browns wife, Faith, in two distinct ways. The obvious being her name, the other more in depth meaning being his person faith and belief. "Faith kept me back a while" (7) in this quote Hawthorn uses Faith to as symbolism to display the double meaning of the word faith and to foreshadow Brown's decent into the hands of the devil.
Young Goodman Brown meets a stranger on the side of the road "looking forward again, beheld the figure of a man, in grave and decent attire, seated at the foot of an old tree. He arose at Goodman Browns approach and walked onward side by side with him." (2) As the reader gets to know this stranger, one cannot help but wonder if “the devil himself should be at my elbow.” (2) Never directly does it state that this stranger is the wicked devil but page by page one starts to question the intent of this unknown character.
“And faith, as the wife was aptly named, 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” (1) “But something fluttered lightly down through the air and caught on the branch of a tree. The young man seized it, and beheld a pink ribbon.” (7) Faith always has a pink ribbon in her hair, which signifies the purity of his wife. Yet when she is heading through the woods toward the black mass, she loses her ribbons, her purity.
People are inadvertently drawn to evil, though they try to be auspicious. Hawthorne exhibits this theme through symbolism to emphasize the element that evil triumphs good in his short story Young Goodman Brown. The Double meaning of Faith, the...