The Allegorical Young Goodman Brown


Length: 633 words (1.8 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

The Allegorical Young Goodman Brown


The story about Young Goodman Brown centers around the allegory of a man pitted against his past and his desires to reach beyond that which his benighted heaven would put before him. The allegory is Christian due to the references in Young Goodman Brown to the devil and Satan; it only seems logical that the crux of the story is based upon the religious imagery of Hawthorne's New England in the times of Salem and active religious strife. The beginning of the story mentions the goodman's wife, Faith. The names of the characters alone serve as an indication of what Hawthorne puts as an obvious religious allegory with the goodman and faith soon to be pitted against an unspeakable evil. The goodman even swears that after this night he will "cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven." The devil awaits Young Goodman Brown as he states that the clock of the old south was striking but a few minutes past (Hawthorne is stating how quickly the devil can move--intensifying the airs of the preternatural). Young Goodman Brown replies to the devil that faith was keeping him away--Hawthorne's play on words should not be overlooked as this also leads to the realization that a man (a good one) can deal with the devil and possibly win.


At this stage in the story the reader still has hope for the goodman who must now deal with what he feels is his duty honor-bound. A "good man" in Hawthorne's day was a person who came from a proper lineage. This very lineage Hawthorne exploits as he begins the goodman's discourse with the devil. The goodman claims that he is from a family of good men that have never been into the forest on such an errand to meet the devil; Hawthorne depends upon this defense to criticize the patriarchal lineage upon which a person places his worth. This view is quickly derailed as the devil himself states that all of his ancestors were with him as they tortured women in Salem or burned to the ground Indian villages, and afterwards the devil and his ancestors would go for a friendly walk. Hawthorne has derided the institution of Young Goodman Brown's lineage, and his society's view of honor by pointing to some simple facts. The question remains as to whom or what is the devil.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Allegorical Young Goodman Brown." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Nov 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=2571>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Essay about The Allegorical Nature of “Young Goodman Brown” - Nathaniel Hawthorne is a man of a long American history. He was born in Salem, Massachusetts to the Hathorne family, who date back to the original Puritans of America. In fact, Hawthorne added the 'W' to his last name to differentiate himself from John Hathorne, a prominent judge in the Salem Witch Trials. Hawthorne is a well known American Gothic author of the Romantic period; some of his commonly known works are: “The Scarlet Letter,” “The House of Seven Gables,” and “Young Goodman Brown”(Meltzer)....   [tags: Salem, religion, evil]
:: 4 Works Cited
849 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Allegorical Characters in Young Goodman Brown - Allegories appear in several works of literature in order to present characters and events to represent an alternate idea. In “Young Goodman Brown,” Nathaniel Hawthorne presents an allegory that uses symbolic characters to represent the fall of man which he supports through the portrayal of dishonesty in religion. The characters, Goodman Brown, Faith, the traveler, and the dark figure all symbolize a bigger idea than their characters depict in the story. All of their separate ideas come together to support the concept of the fall of man....   [tags: allegories, literature, characters, analysis]
:: 1 Works Cited
964 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Free Essays - Allegorical Meaning of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown - Allegorical Meaning of Young Goodman Brown In the short story "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorn, the author uses many of his characters to symbolize the deeper meaning of the narrative.  The allegorical meaning of Hawthorns tale is that of belief.  If one believes that he or she is inherently evil than whether or not they do evil is inconsequential since the belief will ultimately lead to misery.  Young Goodman Brown is going on a voyage or trip yet later in the story it becomes unclear as to whether this was reality, just a dream, or a figment of his imagination.  Hawthorn was a romanticist and this narrative provoked both strong feeling and emotions.  Although, I beli...   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB] 493 words
(1.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Faith in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essays - Nathaniel Hawthorne’s allegorical story “Young Goodman Brown” is set in Salem, Massachusetts during the late sixteen hundreds in a time of religious hysteria and only a few generations after the infamous witch trials. Although "Young Goodman Brown" is a fictional tale, it is based on the cynical environment of Salem during this time period. The short story is filled with many literary elements, leading you to question what did exactly happen to the main character at the conclusion. When analyzing a story like "Young Goodman Brown", one must recognize that the story is at whole symbolic....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown Essays] 1120 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Ambiguity in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essays - The Ambiguity in “Young Goodman Brown”        The literary critics agree that there is considerable ambiguity in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown.” This essay intends to illustrate the previous statement and to analyze the cause of this ambiguity.   Henry James in Hawthorne, when discussing “Young Goodman Brown” comments on how imaginative it is, then mentions how allegorical Hawthorne is, and how allegory should be expressed clearly:   I frankly confess that I have, as a general thing, but little enjoyment of it, and that it has never seemed to me to be, as it were, a first-rate literary form....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]
:: 7 Works Cited
1574 words
(4.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Ambiguity in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay - Ambiguity in “Young Goodman Brown”               Peter Conn in “Finding a Voice in an New Nation” makes a statement regarding Hawthorne’s ambiguity:  “Almost all of Hawthorne’s finest stories are remote in time or place. The glare of contemporary reality immobillized his imagination. He required shadows and half-light, and he sought a nervous equilibrium in ambiguity” (82). There is considerable ambiguity in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” and this essay will examine this and its causes....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]
:: 9 Works Cited
1640 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Ambiguity in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay example - Ambiguity in “Young Goodman Brown”             There is no end to the ambiguity in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”; this essay hopes to explore this problem.   Peter Conn in “Finding a Voice in an New Nation” makes a statement regarding Hawthorne’s ambiguity:    Almost all of Hawthorne’s finest stories are remote in time or place. The glare of contemporary reality immobillized his imagination. He required shadows and half-light, and he sought a nervous equilibrium in ambiguity....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]
:: 9 Works Cited
1749 words
(5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on A Critique of Puritanism in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown - Young Goodman Brown: A Critique of Puritanism  Given Nathaniel Hawthorne's background, it is not a stretch of the imagination to say that Young Goodman Brown is a critique of  Puritanism.  Hawthorne lived in the deeply scarred New England area, separated from puritanism by only one generation.  His grandfather had been one the judges who presided over the Salem Witch trials.  Some of the principle motifs that run through Hawthorne's works are hidden sin, the supernatural, and the influence of evil.  Ironically enough, puritanism is also a part of those tales.  What then is the moral/ philosophical import of Young Goodman Brown?  It suggests, in an allegorical sense, that puritanism is a...   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB] 631 words
(1.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Symbolism and Allegory in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essays - Symbolism and Allegory in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Symbolism, something that figuratively represents something else, is prominent in many literary works. One piece of literature that stands out as a perfect example of symbolism is Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown." This story is completely symbolic, and provides a good example of an allegory, or a story in which concrete items or characters represent abstract ideas. Hawthorne uses both objects and people as symbols to better support the allegorical tones throughout "Young Goodman Brown." Nathaniel Hawthorne uses different people as symbols throughout "Young Goodman Brown." The largest symbolic roles in the story are goodm...   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB] 718 words
(2.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown's Apocalypse Essay - Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown's Apocalypse         Most criticism and reflection of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown centers on a good versus evil theme. Critics also debate interpretations of the main character's consciousness; is Brown awake or dreaming.  What is certain is that he lives and dies in pain because his belief in his righteousness isolates him from his community.  It is also certain that Hawthorne's interpretation of Brown's "mid-life crisis" has ambiguity and leaves a reader with many different feelings about what and why certain things have happened.  Hawthorne's use of symbolism in his allegorical tale Young Goodman Brown causes th...   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]
:: 7 Works Cited
1020 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches




If the devil points to the painful truth of the past and the reality of people in the present, is this the allegorical face of evil? Or is Hawthorne playing upon the reader's disposition to see the devil as evil and stand next to the "good man" and his fate?


Either way the story forces an evaluation of the values of Puritan New England. When Young Goodman Brown decides to not follow the devil into the world of darkness, the role reversal of the allegorical subplot begins. The devil has apparently infested all of the Puritan's souls with sin (at least to the eyes of Young Goodman Brown after he discovers that all of the town has met the devil and is on friendly terms with him). This leads to Young Goodman Brown being described as a lunatic who cannot discern his religious fanaticism from reality. This is Hawthorne's comment upon the religious communities of his time, like his Scarlet Letter; the Puritans with their gift of free religion had decided to insure that no diversity of opinion could be presented and also the community was seen as pure and rid of all external "evils". Hawthorne clearly shows that the evils are manifest in men's actions and not in men's ideologies or even their religions. We cannot lean on the crutch of religion, not when we are raping and killing to gain land or "purity".
 


Return to 123HelpMe.com