5 July 2008
Life is about how you deal with adversity and temptations when they come your way. Early in his life, Young Goodman Brown experiences an enticement from the most evil being, Satan. In the dreary woods of the forest, Brown finds a way to escape the devil and wakes up not knowing if his adventure really happened. Regardless of validity of Brown’s pensive journey, Nathaniel Hawthorne depicts Brown’s uncertainty about his own faith and the faith of others.
From the beginning of the story, Hawthorne employs critical symbolism even before Young Goodman Brown encounters his journey. By interpreting his name, the reader realizes that Brown is a young, naïve newlywed struggling to find his place in the world. The name Brown, which is a neutral color, depicts him as dealing with the same hardships as a common man. His wife’s name, Faith, is an allegory to the Christian faith of Brown. The reader notices that Faith has a pink ribbon in her hair, symbolizing the adversity that Brown is going through in his faith life. As Brown goes from his home into the woods, Hawthorne provides symbolism to the setting. When he leaves the safety of his home, Brown goes into the dark woods which represent danger and uncertainty. The questioning of his faith leaves Brown on a journey to decide his own fate.
Brown’s curiosity and knowledge brings him to the woods to test his faith alongside Satan. When Brown enters the forest, he meets a man holding a staff of a snake, representing the devil. Hawthorne uses an image of the devil in the story to reflect the Puritan belief that the devil is always present in our human world. As he walks with Satan deeper into the forest, he is losing the innocence that he once had and is becoming more aware of evil in the world. Brown begins to notice townspeople, such as his minister and Sunday school teacher, in the woods supporting the wickedness of Satan....