Symbols in Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

The Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a short story about a young Puritan who checks out the woods and finds that a large bulk of the villagers of Salem belong to a witch cult that fulfills in the deep woods at night. The very first layer of this story reflects the hysteria surrounding the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, of which one of the magistrates and the interrogator was Justice John Hathorne, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s great-great-grandfather. Hawthorne’s story is an exploration of evil, particularly the evil that lurks within mankind.

Hawthorne’s usage of allegory is to reveal that for every advantage there is an opposite, a bad thing human or not human. Hawthorne uses three different kinds of signs in his story: Scriptural symbols, Christian symbols, and otherwise uncategorized symbols.

Nathaniel Hawthorne with his rigorous Puritan background and household relies greatly on Scriptural symbols in this story, particularly since his primary character, Goodman Brown, is Puritan. Goodman Brown meets a dark attired, unnamed guy in the woods who brought with him a staff.

This personnel has sculpted on it a snake, “great black snake … it might nearly be seen to twist and twitch itself like a living snake.” (Paragraph 13) In the Old Testament, there are numerous referrals to a snake: in Genesis the snake that spoke to Eve and led her into temptation, in Exodus Moses’s personnel that kips down to a serpent and consumes the staffs-that were likewise serpents-of the Egyptian magicians. The staff represents the Devil, who in this story is not a figure of fantasy, however in fact character. The devil is literally the devil, but likewise represents the devil that lives in everyone, whether confessed or not. Goodman Brown explains the woods as the “wilderness” (Paragraph 27).

The book of Numbers chronicles the Israelites wonderings through the wilderness for forty years as punishment for their sins. The witches and warlocks are forced to fulfill in the woods in order to maintain secrecy. The wilderness is that, that lies within guy, this wilderness is where all ‘wicked’ comes from, it is here that man retreats and finds hatred and anger. Hawthorne deliberately mentions the Egyptian Magi, who were a routine order among the Egyptians devoted to magic and astrology. In Exodus, it is the Egyptian Magi who oppose God directly with their magics and handle up until the afflict of lice to replicate them. The witches and warlocks who gather in the woods in Hawthorne’s story oppose God, and are two-faced in their endeavors; they go to church conferences and appear incredibly holy, however are genuinely wicked.

The black mass of cloud that leads the way to the conference represents leading guy into evil and wrong by its color and the misdirection of the cloud. (Paragraph 48) In Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Mathew, and Revelations there is the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night to led God’s people to where He desired them to be and to where they needed to be. At the conference, there are 4 trees on fire, however not consumed, they represent a message from Satan. In Exodus, God appears to Moses in the type of a burning bush, around the bush is holy ground and from here Moses receives his instructions to bring liberty where in the conference what the members bring are chains of bondage. The rock in between the trees represents the taking of life and hope. Numbers mentions the rock that followed the Israelites through the wandering years and when struck by Moses’s personnel it produced water, bringing life and restoring hope. (Paragraph 48)

The rock likewise represents a bad foundation on which anything built will collapse in the storm. A common Christian teaching is to develop one’s life on the ‘Rock’, anything constructed on Jesus will stand through the storm. (Paragraph 48) Individuals in the meeting are singing hymns while at their conference. Hymns are a typical adequate noise and site in any Christian church, they sung in church services and in this story they characters mock God by utilizing these hymns in their devilry. (Paragraph 47, 52) In the rock, there is a basin full of either blood or water reddened by the light. In every church, there is a basin, of some sort, that holds holy water for baptisms and other functions.

In this story, the Devil has his own version of holy water. (Paragraph 62) In order to finish the starting of the new converts, Lucifer should Baptist them. In the Christian church, there are 2 kinds of Baptism kid and adult and one is a fundamental part of initiating a new member into the church and a declaration of their faith in God. (Paragraph 62) In the story Faith is brought up to the altar in a veil; this is a duplication of the New Testament idea of the Bride of Christ. (Paragraph 54) The course on which Goodman Brown embarks is a narrow path. In the New Testament, the route to paradise is frequently stated to be the narrow course or the narrow road. In this story, the course to hell is simply as narrow. (Paragraph 8)

Hawthorne also uses other symbols these are not always associated with Bible or Christianity, they are rather contextual symbols. The pink ribbons on Faith’s cap at the start of the story represent the innocence of Goodman Brown and when they fall out, they represent the loss of innocence. (Paragraph 1, 50) Faith’s name paradoxically represents faith in the goodness of male and when Goodman Brown loses Faith, it represents his loss of faith in the goodness of guy. (Paragraph 3, 51) This story occurs at night. Night has actually long been the world of evil and deviltry, twelve AM has actually long been referred to as the witching hour and three AM has long been known as the Devil’s hour, this all rooted in ancient practices.

Nathaniel Hawthorne provides a grim look at humanity in his narrative, Young Goodman Brown. He likewise touches on the major problems of the time, which caused hysteria and worry amongst the great, Puritan people of Salem. Spiritual dissenters, such as Quakers and Roger Williams who founded Rhode Island, have actually brought problems within the ‘perfect’ Puritan society to the surface. The disputes with Native Americans particularly King Philip’s War has actually caused more tension and dislike directed towards the Native population. Then the new illness and animals that the Puritans have discovered make the New World appear to be a place full of witchcraft and sorcery that bring death. Entirely, these supply an ideal environment for his short story, Young Goodman Brown.