Use Of Imagery And Biblical Allegory In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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Even the Holiest fall into Temptation A major theme of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is the corruptibility and evil inherent in every man. Hawthorne uses imagery, symbolism, and biblical allegory in this story of original sin as seen through Puritan eyes in Salem in 1650. Goodman Brown’s journey through the forest is symbolic of Christian self-exploration which ends with Goodman Brown becoming estranged from the goodness of God, losing his wife Faith, losing his faith in salvation, and losing his faith in human goodness. Hawthorne uses imagery throughout the story to illustrate Goodman Brown’s journey away from the light and goodness of God. The story starts at sunset and progresses into the darkness of night as Goodman Brown…show more content…
The Young Goodman Brown’s name stands for the innocence of a good man. His wife’s name Faith represents Brown’s spiritual faith and moral compass. He describes her as “a blessed angel on earth” (1). The devil himself, who looks like a regular person, is only identifiable by “his staff, which [bares] the likeness of a great black snake” (1). He gives his staff to Goodman Brown, and when Goodman Brown surrenders to the devil he uses the staff like a witch’s broom “to fly along the forest path rather than to walk or run” (4). Finally, Faith’s pink ribbons in her hair are the ultimate symbol of innocence. The story begins with an innocent Goodman Brown and Faith while “the wind play[s] with the pink ribbons of her cap” (1). Their loss of innocence is symbolized by Faith’s ribbons flying through the air and Goodman Brown crying out “My Faith is gone!” (4). Just as the apple in the Garden of Eden represents innocence, so do Faith’s pink ribbons, and just as Adam follows Eve’s path to evil by eating from the forbidden apple after she does, Goodman Brown surrenders to the devil after the ribbons fly off of

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