Allegory In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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Through four distinct symbols in “Young Goodman Brown,” Nathaniel Hawthorne creates an allegory in which mankind’s innate evil is highlighted. The first symbol is the main character named Goodman Brown. Goodman Brown is symbolic because of his name and his actions. Goodman, at the time of the Puritans, was a title that all grown men owned, and Brown was a common and popular name of the time as well. Therefore, Hawthorne created a young protagonist in his short story to represent and symbolize all of mankind through him. Another symbol in “Young Goodman Brown” is Faith. Faith is Goodman Brown’s young wife who wears pink ribbons. Through her name, the young wife obviously symbolizes faith in God. However, most readers miss the symbolism of the hair accessories. The pink of the ribbons shows that Faith is pure, innocent, and holy. Faith is set apart from her fellow Puritans by these pink ribbons, and the word holy means set apart. Pink is also a symbol of youth and innocence, and Faith acts almost like a child throughout the story. For example, she implores her husband to stay saying, “‘…prithee put off your journey until sunrise and sleep in your own bed to-night. A lone…show more content…
The forest is supposedly the meeting place of the witches and of the devil during the Puritan’s time, so Hawthorne continues this belief in his writing. The forest is an apt symbol for evil because of its foreboding trees and dark shadows at night. Touching upon mankind’s inherent fear of the unknown, the use of the forest as an evil symbol seems only natural. Hawthorne even states, “The whole forest was peopled with frightful sounds - the creaking of the trees, the howling of wild beasts, and the yell of Indians; while sometimes the wind tolled like a distant church bell, and sometimes gave a broad roar around the traveller, as if all Nature were laughing him to scorn” (Hawthorne
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