Young Goodman Brown and Other Hawthorne Short Stories
Role of Archetype in “Young Goodman Brown” Novel
Young Goodman Brown
In literature, an archetype is a typical character, an action that seems to represent such universal patterns of human nature. The universal symbol may be a character, a theme, a symbol, or even a setting. Red can represent blood, violence, passion, intensity, and anger. White can represent purity, enlightenment, wealth, and timelessness. A serpent represents independence, evil, and knowledge. In “Young Goodman Brown,” Nathaniel Hawthorne uses archetypes to convey the message that losing faith will lead to temptation.
Hawthorne utilizes a combination of the white and red archetypes to make pink, which represents passion and purity in this story as “purity appears white, as passion appears red” (Hudson). Even though everyone else in the town has turned to the devil, for Faith’s wellbeing, young Goodman Brown will stay true to God. However, during his journey through the forest, he hears voices and recognizes his wife, Faith’s voice. When Goodman Brown notices the pink ribbon in the forest, he loses his faith both literally and metaphorically. At a point when he considers whether or not he should continue, “something [flutters] lightly down through the air and [catches] on a branch of a tree. The young man [seizes] it, and [beholds] a pink ribbon. ‘My Faith is gone’ [cries] he… ‘there is no good on earth; and sin is but a name’” (Hawthorne).
Hawthorne uses the ribbon to subtly reinforce the idea that Faith is part of the satanic ritual, therefore showing that his Faith has left him. This powerful symbol leads Goodman Brown to divorce himself spiritually, emotionally, and physically from the rest of the townspeople. The ribbons Goodman Brown found in the tree, shows that he has lost his innocence and love for God. Despite the fact that he plans to return to Faith, he no longer evokes the husband or man that Faith watched go into the forest.
Hawthorne uses a serpent-like staff archetype to persuade Goodman Brown to keep moving into the woods. Goodman Brown tries to convince himself that he had made the wrong decision of walking into the demonic forest, but the devil’s staff urges him in. His gaze was “fixed upon his remarkable staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought that it might almost be seen… as a living serpent”. When the devil tells Goodman Brown to use the staff to travel faster, Goodman Brown takes him up on the offer and, like Eve, is ultimately condemned for his weakness by losing his innocence. Besides representing Eve’s temptation, the serpent represents her curiosity which leads her into that temptation. By Young Goodman Brown losing his faith, represented by Faith’s pink ribbons, he was apt to be lead into the devil’s temptation.
Reflection on “The Birth-mark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
I find this book to have a moral lesson. Human beings seem to have an obsession in making things perfect even those that are beyond their powers. Alymer had searched for a beautiful girl to marry; he finds Georgina but she has a birthmark that Alymer doesn’t like. He goes ahead to marry her with the birthmark but it becomes a bother that he would dream removing it. Alymer, Georgina’s husband is not contented with his wife’s beauty; his major concern goes to her birthmark which is her only imperfection. Alymer thinks that if the birthmark would be removed his wife would have perfect beauty. It is unfortunate how he does not concentrate with her beauty but concentrate on the only thing that is not right with her. The author of this book brings out a theme that is real even in our normal life. People will always focus on the little imperfect things and tend to forget on many perfect things that a person has.
Initially Georgina thought she was all beautiful until she met her husband. The husband kept on pointing the birthmark which is her imperfection until he looks depressed. Georgina believes her husband and start thinking that she has a flaw that they need to do away with at whatever cost. She goes ahead to drink some potion without investigating its side effects which later costs her life. This happens to human beings as well. We are born thinking that we are the best but in the course of life people point out some flaws about us which we end up believing. Most of the times when people mention our flaws, we believe them and get influenced regardless of the circumstances. In this world where perfection is demanded, it doesn’t matter how confident a person is physically or in personalities it is the nature of people to conform for survival. Perfection is not achievable yet people keep on demanding it which eventually affects self-esteem and self-confidence we have.
This becomes worse when we get criticism from the people we love as they make us change our mindsets. Even if we thought something was okay and someone we love says otherwise we tend to believe them. Whether simple or complex, flaws are no longer seen as few steps to perfection rather as a monster that should be eliminated as fast as possible. It is more complicated when others are different from us as they get shunned. People mock them as they want them to change so that they can fit it; they cannot be accommodated as they are. We push them away and do not give them a chance to be just ‘them’. The pressure we give people by showing them how imperfect they are making them make decisions in trying to become perfect which may end up hurting them more. Beauty and ugliness are in the eyes of the beholder. The funny thing is that the ones pointing out other people’s imperfections are not perfect both externally and internally. It would be better if we would accommodate everyone with their imperfections and differences as the not doing this would not be offering any help.
In conclusion, flaws can be faulty not in terms of looks but in self-confidence and self-esteem. People can never achieve perfection which means that pressuring them to be perfect just destroys them. It would also be recommendable that we learn to embrace things that we cannot change. If someone has a physical imperfection he/she should accept it however if it is something like personality he/she can try to improve on it. Humans should embrace their flaws as well as their beauty.
Analysis of “My Kinsman, Major Molineux” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The work was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “My Kinsman, Major Molineux”, is a short story that follows a young man named Robin during an earlier date. This man came to Boston via a ferry in order to search for his kinsman named Major Molineux, who is an official in the British Colonial government. This story has a fairly optimistic tone to it, showing the reader a good attitude so far.
During the time period that the story is set in, there were many different people with titles to them; kinsman being an example. Since this is true, the story is very well related to its setting; however, the time period that it was written in was almost one hundred years after the set time period. Since this is true, many of the readers of “My Kinsman, Major Molineux” believe that the relation to the time period and the story isn’t quite in correlation. However, the time period its set in does relate well to the content of the story.
At the beginning of the story, the author starts off by giving the readers a little bit of history in order to bring them into the loop of the story. Mentioning that the British governors were very unpopular in Massachusetts. There were also many governors who had this job with very bad experiences while in office. He then tells how Robin is searching for his Major, but no one seems to want to tell him where to find this man.
Soon, Robin approaches a rich man, causing a violent encounter with him, but just wanting to find out some information about where to find the Major. The searching continues, though he has little luck in finding his friend the Major Molineux. The different events that occur for Robin tend to lead towards something other of the ordinary. He meets many different people with unique stories and weird things occur, making it sound somewhat like a dream.
Though the short story was written during the 1800’s, it was based during the 1700’s, making the story a little confusing when looking at the time period and its relation to the story. However, the author did a great job at relating the story to a hundred years before he was writing, not even have lived during that time and being able to know what went on. He gave great historical information about the time period beforehand, making the time period correlate well with its set time period.
The Birthmark Vs. Rappaccini’s Daughter
Crews (1996) depicted that, legitimate people and spots are constantly employed by Hawthorne in his modest accounts for introduction of his conceptual settings and characters. The reality being is that Hawthorne read a mind boggling plan especially in history and was astoundingly interested by diaries, yet only for characters and settings that would be particularly critical to him and might of use to him in one of his short stories or books. Fetterly (1976) argued that Hawthorne adored some minor existing or dynamic figures from the long past and usually the neglected ones, like the show-stoppers and in the firearm of western literature through the ages and there is progressively that a suggestion that these stories and also characters gave him breathtaking license to draw upon for his own specific stories.
Society is continually unveiling to us that we are adequately awful. It is hard to go wherever without seeing an advancement offering something that would enhance you a man, paying little mind to whether it be makeup to enhance you look or a drink that supports you get fit as a fiddle. With most of this strain to twist up a more ideal variation of yourself, it is definitely not hard to reject what genuinely matters. In the nostalgic stories The Birthmark and Rappaccini’s Daughter, Hawthorne explores the dangers of attempting to make a flawless human endeavoring to diagram that our blemishes don’t make us horrendous, they make us human (Fetterly, 1976).
The review of female characters in “Rappaccini’s Daughter” and “The Birthmark” written by Hawthorne, are dependably filled in as flawlessness’ paragon, excellence and ease just to be virgin toward the complete of each story, completely destroyed (Crew, 1996). Abnormally, while this may at first look emits an impression of being an inevitable subject of misogyny, this isn’t generally the case since the vanishing of the two central female characters, Beatrice and George, worked out as expected because of intelligent impedance of men. It is depicted by Foglie (1964) that in beginning of the Hawthorne’s two stories, the two women are displayed as identical to physical excellence, and unadulterated soul. Practically nothing, in any case, before his terrible flaws are revealed; poisonous closeness and a little skin pigmentation and beginning there, the vanishing of these women and separating, beside its magnificence experiences the exercises of male characters that are hunting down their inspirations, that general achievement intelligent or love, or some unusual mix of both (Foglie, 1964). By the day’s end, Hawthorne is in every way the presentation of an idea in regards to intelligent research, especially as for womanly perfection.
Stewart (1932) argued that, in time of Hawthorne, science was never same as that of the present material science or science; generally, was just similar to theoretical science, having extraordinary ties. Researchers of this time endeavored to comprehend the privileged insights of nature and in addition to pro and immaculate them. In “The Birthmark” Aylmer was the analyst while in “Rappaccini’s Daughter”, Dr. Rappaccini was the researcher. These two people test the women that they esteem that are in their families, for Aylmer his better half and for Rappaccini his daughter. Both endeavor to consummate something or make something over the human condition. In both, the researchers finally crash and burn. Both Georgianna and Beatrice pass on due to the experimentation done on them (Stewart, 1932). In my clarification, I trust Hawthorne is creating a dispute against the assumption science can pass on to its supporters. There is in like manner a sentiment of nature, the human condition, and the way things should be truly are.
Fetterly (1976) argued that, Georgiana, as delineated in The Birthmark, is portrayed as about impeccable from the land a Nature, her solitary recognizable normal for common blemish being a skin pigmentation on her cheek. As indicated by Aylmer, this one “distortion” on her significant other, drives him to form a blend that would remove the stamp from Georgina’s cheek. In the event that he by one means or another happened to succeed, he would have made something generally inhuman this implies an ideal human which actually isn’t conceivable. Aylmer is attempting to make something prevalent than a human. Georgina is decreased from a human and companion to on challenge be culminated, unmistakably Aylmer ponders her looks than he does about her (Crew, 1996). His need to idealize her at last prompts her passing; exactly when she is gone does he comprehend what he has done. He discards the pleasure which would have woven his mortal presence of the proportionate surface with the brilliant presence. By endeavoring to consummate his significant other, he surrendered the seasons of joy him and her could have had in case he ignored her minor physical defect and saw her for the brilliant women which really she is (Waggoner, 1955).
Rappaccini’s Daughter is another formation of Hawthorne which in like manner turns around man endeavoring to make a human better than anything nature has (Waggoner, 1955). Exactly when authority young lady Beatrice of Rappaccini was imagined, he used a plant from his garden to both make her magnificent, yet moreover filled her veins with hurt. Her breath butchers bugs and blooms, and it polluted Giovanni, her sweetheart, with a comparable poison that experiences her veins. As Smith school’s Dr. Millington watches, the claim specific dad of Beatrice completed her as a human being and decreases her to the subject of a preliminary. It ends up obvious that Beatrice is seen by her father as an opportunity to culminate nature rather than as his daughter, a human being with suppositions and emotions (Foglie, 1964). While it is her sweetheart Giovanni who is clearly accountable for her downfall by offering her a cure that would the extent that anybody knows fix the two, the blame for her passing can simply fall on her father’s shoulders, for he was the one that hurt her. As opposed to seeing his daughter as a young lady and a comment worshiped he considered her to be an issue of experimentation (Crew, 1996). Before long, the objective was to idealize something that has no significant ending.
Basic stories took after a similar topic where men endeavor to culminate typically made women, and the two cases incite the death of ladies. The obsession of defect relating Georgina by Aylmer and the obsession of science by Rappaccini on his little girl influence the two men to expel what is to a great degree crucial. Fetterly (1978) contends that, if Aylmer and Rappaccini had been content with the mortality of the relationships, by then they all would have lived fundamentally more blissful lives. In any case, the allurements of making something more than human were exorbitantly exceptional. Aylmer went so far as to convince his loved one that her skin pigmentation was a stunning deformation, and that it is more quick witted to be dead than to allow it to remain on her cheek, compared to Beatrice at last took a risk with her life to switch her father’s preliminary, and it completed her life (Fetterly, 1978). While both have a to some degree exceptional conclusion, the essential message proceeds as previously. We were made the way we are for a reason and trying to make the ideal human achieves more devilishness than incredible.
Regardless of the way that the two stories were made in the eighteenth century, the essential message in each outstanding part reliable with the cutting edge days and time of 21st Century (Stewart, 1932). In our overall population we are constantly bombarded by advancements that undertaking to enhance us look, wind up more grounded, get more fit, or whatever other change that you can consider. We are every day told that our personality isn’t adequate, possibly we in general need to see the imaginative thoughts of Hawthorne that nature made us human for fundamental motivations to possess our blemishes and all the more noticeably it’s essentially the defects which made us as human.
The Symbolic Significance of Faith’s Pink Ribbons
The Symbolism of Faith’s Pink Ribbons
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” Faith’s pink ribbons represent her purity and Goodman Brown’s changing feelings for her, ultimately leading the reader to challenge the veracity of Goodman Brown’s claims. Faith’s pink ribbons symbolic significance change throughout the short story.
Archetypally, pink represents naivete, youthfulness, sweetness, and purity. Faith embodies all of these characteristics. Ergo, it only makes sense that her pink ribbons are symbolic of Faith’s purity and later, Goodman Brown’s changing feelings for her. Prior to engaging with her husband, Faith’s pink ribbons are mentioned for the first time. She let the “the wind play with her pink ribbons of her cap” while her downtrodden husband bid his “young wife” ado by exchanging a “parting kiss” (page 1). The ribbons are again mentioned (albeit in superficial manner) only a few short sentences later. Faith is giddy with faith in her husband, saying “God Bless you” and “May you find well when you come back” (page 1). It’s a few paragraphs later when the aforementioned pink ribbons, which also serve as a motif, gains a symbolic meaning. When the two part for good, Hawthorne says: “The young man pursued his way, until, being about to turn the corner by the meeting-house, he looked back and saw the head of Faith still peeping after him, with a melancholy air, in spite of her pink ribbons” (page 1). Soon thereafter, Goodman Brown exclaims “Poor little Faith! What a wretch am I…” (page 1). Not only does this illuminate who Goodman Brown is (a miserable, negative wretch); it also represents unconditional love for her husband, her childlike nature, and her extremely different personality from her husband (she peeps at him like a child; he drowns himself in a pool of depression and pity). Even in the end, when Goodman Brown is tempted by the Devil in an Adam and Eve-like story, she remains pure, her ribbons remain prevalent.
Faith’s character remains unchanged throughout the story, but the significance of her ribbons take on a new meaning. At the start of the short story, we know that Goodman Brown holds his wife in a high esteem, even chastising himself for being unfair to her. As the story progresses, it’s clear that his opinion of his wife is changing. Hawthorne brings the ribbons back into the story in the forest when Goodman Brown is confronted by the devil. One of Faith’s ribbons falls to the ground and Goodman Brown perceives it not only as Faith’s loss of innocence and purity, but her succumbing to the devil. “’My Faith is gone!” Goodman Brown exclaimed, “’There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil! for to thee is this world given’” (page 2). Faith’s ribbon, which previously represented good things, now represents bad things and makes Goodman Brown think that she’s lost her purity and innocence. As a result of this he changes his opinion of her. Essentially, he now views her in a more negative light than before, suggesting that Goodman Brown’s arduous journey and foray with the devil has had a profound effect on him and his view of Faith and ultimately, her ribbons. Faith’s ribbons take on a new meaning again when Goodman Brown returns from his journey. On his way home, Goodman Brown spots Faith acting as she did at the start of the story: giddy with happiness and skipping “along the street” towards him. Hawthorne says: “He spied the head of Faith, with the pink ribbons” (page 2). Not only does this cast doubt as to the veracity of Goodman Brown’s story (Hawthorne even mentions that it made me a story made up by Goodman Brown, saying “Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest, and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting?), it also returns the meaning of Faith’s pink ribbons to their original meaning. That is, Faith represents naivete, youthfulness, sweetness, and purity.
In effect, the symbolic significance of Faith’s pink ribbons change depending on the section of the short story. In one section it represents the characteristics of Faith; in others it represents Goodman Brown’s changing feelings for her. In correlation with the two aforementioned aspects of the theme, it also represents a challenge to the veracity of Goodman Brown’s claims. Really though, the narrative cohesiveness of Hawthorne’s short story rests on Faith’s pink ribbons. Without those, we wouldn’t have nearly the same amount of mystery and intrigue that the story now has.
Symbolism in Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne
What defines one as innocent? Innocence is often supplementary to youth, ignorance, and naivety; and the loss of innocence occurs when exposed to the evils of the world. Corruption can happen in any culture or race, and eventually does happen at some point in life. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown” epitomizes the loss of innocence. Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer from Salem, Massachusetts. Hawthorne wrote about various themes, “he included themes such as adultery, heresy and witchcraft in his work” (Means). In “Young Goodman Brown” Hawthorne’s use of symbolism, setting, and allusion contribute to the portrayal of the theme of loss of innocence.
The story “Young Goodman Brown” is highly allegorical. With character names such as “Faith” and “Goodman Brown” the reader can see that they are much more than names; they are symbols. Through symbolism, Hawthorne is able to convey to the reader how that even with a highly reputable religious background, no one remains truly innocent indefinitely. The protagonist’s wife, Faith, is a symbol of Brown’s spiritual faith. Faith tries to keep her husband from his journey in the woods. Faith attempts to prevail, but “Faith’s admonition to “put off your journey until sunrise and sleep in your own bed tonight” suggests that the influence of Faith over Brown is essentially negative. The insubstantiality of Brown’s religious faith manifests itself” (Matthews). Hawthorne’s use of Faith as a character personifies the innocent nature of someone in good faith. With her “pretty head” and “pink ribbons of her cap” Hawthorne emphasizes the youthful and childish manner of Faith, how pure and uncorrupt she is. By the end of the story, however, she has gone to the forest with the other “converts” (Hawthorne 493). Faith, the purest thought of Brown’s existence, has converted to Satanism. She serves to personify how good faith can be wavered, and to convey to the reader how even the purest, seemingly innocent people can be corrupt. The story’s title and the protagonists name, “Young Goodman Brown” also serves as a symbol of youth and the inevitable loss of innocence. The protagonist’s tittle, “Young Goodman” portrays the sense that he is innocently youthful and has the will to be upright; however, his last name, “Brown” suggests that he is soiled or has a dark nature about him. Brown has potential to have good faith, but as he enters the dark woods and is consumed by darkness, “he is plunging into the road leading to despair, and the immediate closing of the trees symbolizes the shutting off of his escape. He is alone, cut off from humanity with but one companion, the devil, his own evil genius.” (Walsh) Brown, like his wife, serves to show the reader how the young and good can be corrupted.
Along with symbolism, Hawthorne’s use of setting shows the reader how corruption can happen to the innocent, especially in the darkest of places. Goodman Brown starts his journey by leaving Hawthorne’s hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. In history, this town is known for housing the Salem Witch Trials. This makes for an ideal place to start a journey that “haste on a present evil purpose” (Hawthorne 487). By utilizing his historic hometown as a setting, Hawthorne shows the reader that the seemingly good protagonist has already started on his journey to corruption. As Brown reaches the woods, Hawthorne establishes a gloomy, dark, evil mood. This setting provides a place for innocence to perish. As in most tales, “The magic forest is always full of adventures. No one can enter it without losing his way. The forest has always been a place of initiation for there the demonic presences, the ancestral spirits, and the forces of nature reveal themselves” (Zimmer 182). Brown’s forest experience is comparable. As Brown walks deeper into the woods he is succumbed by a narrowing path, closed by tree limbs, and black masses of clouds. The reader can visualize the corruption happening. Hawthorne’s use of the dark woods as a setting further emphasizes the loss of innocence in Goodman Brown.
Several allusions are made throughout “Young Goodman Brown”; Hawthorne’s references to various texts and historical events enrich the readers understanding of Brown’s loss of innocence. Hawthorne utilizes his hometown of Salem for the setting, by establishing this setting he also has created an allusion to the historical aspects of the town: The Salem Witch Trials. This story, “because its raw material is the Puritan mind cast in the setting of the Salem witchcraft delusion, has often been seen as a skillful exposition of the extremes of that mind itself” (St. Armand). The Puritan extremists of the time, although they were thought to be well-minded people, were ironically very brutal and cruel to those accused of witchcraft. By providing this allusion, Hawthorne conveys how the purest of people are corrupted. Along with the historical allusions, “Young Goodman Brown” also has many biblical allusions. These allusions add emphasis to the central theme of the loss of innocence. Brown’s wife, Faith, is an allusion to religious faith. Brown mentions seeing a serpentine staff, Heaven, the devil, and an altar along his journey through the woods. These allusions portray the struggle between good and evil, and add to the struggle of staying innocent and pure in presence of the devil. These biblical references give the reader a tangible way to identify with Brown and his struggle to stay pure; this enhances the reader’s overall experience with the corruption of innocence.
To conclude, Hawthorne’s use of symbolism, setting, and allusion in his short story “Young Goodman Brown” portray the loss of innocence. His symbolic characters exemplify how the purest of people can become corrupt. The story’s settings of Salem and the dark woods emphasize the corruption that happens to Brown. By providing the several biblical and historical allusions, Hawthorne portrays a tangible experience with Brown’s corruption. When the loss of innocence occurs, it is an unforgettable experience. Corruption can happen to even the purest of all people, but once corruption has occurred, innocence cannot be regained. This is the ruined fate of corruption: the loss of purity.
Comparison of Style in Regard to Puritan Beliefs in Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
“The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards show two distinct perspectives towards Puritan beliefs. The author’s passages compare both the loyalty of beliefs and the consequences of sin. I can easily describe Jonathan Edwards’ style as angry and intense, while Hawthorne’s tone is symbolic and somber. The protagonist Parson Hooper changes the reader’s understanding of Puritan ideals of religion by setting an example of Puritans’ beliefs and explaining what occurs to the unsaved. It is apparent both authors use symbolism, imagery, and connotative diction in order to do so.
First and foremost, Edwards and Hawthorne appeal to different emotions to better depict their beliefs. In “Sinners..” Edwards expresses, “All wicked men’s pains and contrivance which they use to escape hell, while they continue to reject Christ and so remain wicked men, don’t secure ‘em from Hell one moment.” Edwards is able to create guilt and terror in his audience by using Connotative Diction. Edwards’ main motive is to get his audience to repent from their sins, through fear. While Edwards uses connotative diction, Hawthorne attempts to set an example of Puritan beliefs. Hawthornes states, “..he caught hold of life and held back till he should speak. He even raised himself in bed: and there he sat, shivering with the arms of death around him.” Hawthorne uses the protagonist Parson Hooper to taunt how Puritans are hypocrites. The character Parson Hooper believes in demonstrating the methods to repent rather than using fear to encourage them. His fellowships’ dismissal of Hooper and his black veil, despite his faithfulness, shows how hypocritical they are. While both texts shows how Puritan beliefs, sin reveals that an example is more effective than words.
Next, it is apparent that both Hawthorne and Edwards used symbolism to better portray their ideas so that their listeners connect and understand the consequences and effects of sin. Edwards declares, “.. the arrow made ready on the string and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow.” In the quote, symbolism is used to create a fearful atmosphere for the audience. Edward uses the symbol of the bow and arrow to represent the power and strength God has. He aims to make the audience feel guilty and afraid because of their sins. As for Hawthorne, he uses symbolism to explain the meaning of the black veil. He expresses this in the quote, “The subject had reference to secret sin, and those sad mysteries which we hide from our dearest and nearest.” The black veil had been worn by the protagonist Parson Hooper, who reasoned everyone has shameful secrets. Everyone else disapproved and saw the veil as evil, while keeping their sins hidden. Unlike them, Hooper went everywhere with the veil, bearing his sins openly. Both authors used symbolism because they wish to make their audience want to change their ways and repent.
Lastly, the strategy of imagery is evident in both of the author’s’ texts, to influence the readers to understand the main purpose of their texts. Edward states, “ There was the black veil swathed round Hooper’s forehead, and concealing every feature above his placid mouth, on which, at times, they could perceive the glimmering of a melancholy smile.” Edward uses imagery so the audience can witness the punishment of sinners. It is apparent sinners live a life of misery and regret, and they will endure God’s wrath. The consequent effect creates an fearful tone, attempting to scare the audience. The author had revealed God thought sinners were unworthy, thus encouraging the audience to repent as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Hawthorne uses imagery to display the meaning of the black veil. This is apparent in the quote, “..and while he prayed, the veil lay heavily on his uplifted contenanc. Did he seek to hide it from the dread being whom he was addressing?” The veil represents secret sin and how even the good possess them. A priest like parson Hooper, a man of faith who others look up to, bears his sins with the black veil. The black veil was seen as evil, changing how others felt towards him. Even though Hooper was a good individual, his veil (sins) had gained negative attention. Hooper had proved that people were hypocrites to judge him, when they were sinners themselves. The use of imagery was very effective as it had conveyed the meaning of the black veil and the punishment of sinners.
The distinction in the author’s perspectives to sharing religion displays different ideas and results to the readers. These distinctions enable the readers to better understand the author’s’ motives. It is shown that setting an example has a more notable result than words without works which demonstrates Hawthorne’s style is more successful compares to Edwards’. However, both authors were very effective on their motives of explaining what occurs to the unsaved, and explaining what the Puritan religion consisted of through connotative diction, symbolism, and imagery.
Young Goodman Brown’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne as a Perfect Example of Puritan Thinking
Nathaniel Hawthorne is known for his interest in Puritan faith and how he incorporates that into his stories. “Young Goodman Brown” is a perfect example of this, for the characters Puritan values play a huge role in the stories meaning. The first time reading through this story, it was unclear what Nathaniel Hawthrone was trying to explain to us. After reading through it a couple more times it finally came clear to me that there are a couple different major and minor themes discussed in “Young Goodman Brown”. “Young Goodman Brown” teaches us lessons about too high of expectations, leaving the faith, and judging people too harshly.
Goodman Brown, the main character who lives amongst the Puritan community. Puritans value things such as honesty, community, marriage, and god. Browns who decided to abandon these values to walk with the devil already set him back. Mentally and physically Brown walks away from his Faith. Physically, Brown walks away from his Faith by leaving his wife, who’s named ironically is Faith. Brown mentally leaves his faith the minute he makes this decision and believes his sin of the night will not leave an effect on his life. Saying goodbye to Faith- both literally and metaphorically- his wife says, “and may you find all well when you come back”. (168) This is foreshadowing the decision Brown had made.
Guilt and paranoia are the emotions that come up in this story. Brown doesn’t just fell crushing guilt not only because he is leaving his wife but also because he fears that Faith knows about the purpose of his journey. He fears being discovered as a sinner and he is certain that Faith is holy, and so it doesn’t occur to him that his wife is begging him to stay at home to keep them from both going into the woods at night and sinning their sins. Brown’s wife definitely doesn’t want him to leave as she says “this Dearest heart,’ whispered she, softly and rather sadly, when her lips were close to his ear, ‘pray thee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed to-night. A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts, that she’s afeard of herself, sometimes. Pray, tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year!”.(168). She says this because she doesn’t what her husband to leave her until the morning, she just wants one more night with him. Maybe this is her way to get him to rethink his actions and decide not to go off into the woods. She wants to hold off his journey into the woods for the night and make him redecided on what he wants to do.
Even though Goodman Brown just lied to his wife and admits to himself that his journey is evil, he continues to think of himself as one of the elects, the people who think the Puritans believe are destined by god to go to heaven. He believes that his wife’s godliness will make him holy. Brown seems to think he can just dip his toe into the sin and then remove his toe from the sin without dealing with the harm that could have been done.
Hawthorne creates an utter contrast between the seemingly perfect young newlyweds and their sinister setting, Salem at nightfall. Their names “Faith” and “Goodman” promise the character’s devotion and morality, and Faith’s ribbons seem to be very childlike and innocent. Let’s look at Goodman Brown’s name. If you think about his name you think that he would be a “goodman” but in this story, he is not. If he was a good man like his name is he wouldn’t be leaving his wife or sinning in his life. But the setting of the story is important. Salem it the Puritan town which is famous for its murderous and hypocritical “Witch Trials” suggesting that either a sin or problematic terror of sin lies beneath the beautiful exterior.
Brown is extremely opinionated, believing he can leave his values and faith all at once and still be accepted into heaven. The Puritans believed that only God knew who would be accepted into heaven, and the pursuit of people may be rotten underneath. Brown had thought that his sin-filled that night would have no effect on him going into heaven because his wife would be going down there.
In Goodman Brown, Hawthorne tries to demonstrate that man’s limitation comes from his inner fight with evil. Furthermore, Hawthorne’s adversary gives characters the fight with the protagonist, Brown deserts his uncertain indecisive and at last sets himself determinedly on a path. Goodman Brown, as already stated, was an individual who was very overwhelmed by his self-consciousness and was someone who thought himself to have committed a serious sin by meeting the devil and taking part in a meeting of witches in his imaginings. This dream of the protagonist spoke of an epoch where people were torching with religious remorse and false notions. During a meeting with the devil, Goodman Brown realizes that his wife Faith is being taken away by the devil. This just actually means his wife but his faith. Brown said this ” My Faith is gone!’ cried he, after one stupefied moment. There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, Devil, for to thee is this world given”.(175) I think here he is begging the devil not to take away his faith. But what Brown doesn’t realize is that he sinned against his believes and now a sinful person who believes differently from his own beliefs.
Goodman Brown may supposedly be Hawthorne’s own expressions of his own efforts with his confidence in humanity and his own self. The author was a guilt-ridden person and I believe that he had many instances when his faith was tested. Brown is Hawthorne to a lesser extent. Goodman Brown starts out as a good, happy decent man and he seems very content. All these changes when he decided against the advice the wife faith that he should go out on a journey into the woods to meet the devil. It is obvious that that the path in the woods he sustains as a symbol of the dark truth. As he continues walking the path in the woods, he arrives at the peak of his journey when he arrives at the place where the witches were holding a meeting. Brown now believes to have lost his faith despite his lost effort to save his spouse. He never knew if he was successful in saving her. This is certainly the main aspect which led to his destruction.
The Puritans forest is marked as a place of fear and a place of possibility. It contained a threat from Indians and a world out of the control of the puritan’s village, but it also was a place to escape from the pressures of the society and its people that were all watching each other for sin. Brown, who is walking into the woods expresses out of a sinful curiosity. The forest seems to be a place to hide a sin everywhere. The forest might also be seen as a place to reflect his own mind, which is full of his own confusions and terrors. “The road grew wilder and drearier and more faintly traced, and vanished at length, leaving him in the heart of the dark wilderness, and still rushing onward with the instinct that guides mortal man to evil. 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 traveler, as if all Nature were laughing him to scorn”.(175). Brown finally accepts the evil fate that he put on himself and runs towards the Devil. The conditions around him become fierce and scarier, but that didn’t stop Brown from continuing towards the devil.
The threshold of the house symbolizes the turning point in this story, the moment in which Goodman Brown can either choose to listen to Faith and stay at home as a good husband or go follow his curiosity and go off into the night alone. Faith’s fear of bad dreams suggests that there are a couple of different possibilities: that there may be something evil and mystic about Brown’s mysterious nighttime journey; she may simply see the fear in being lonely without her husband at; or that she may worry about what she might do without her husband around.
The ending of this story is diffidently a different way to end a story. The narrator never steps in and says rather Browns whole story was a dream or not. What the narrator does do is sum everything up as to what happened to Young Goodman Brown. “And when he had lived long and was borne to his grave a hoary corpse, followed by Faith, an aged woman, and children and grandchildren, a goodly process, besides neighbors, not a few, they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom”. (73) This quote is explaining what had happened to Brown when he died at the end. He will be followed by faith, even though he didn’t believe in any of his faith, he will also be followed by everyone who loved him and a couple of people who didn’t care for him that much but still cared.
Goodman Brown does not live up to what we would like he would with a name like Goodman Brown. If he was the Goodman like we would like he wouldn’t be meeting with the devil or leaving his wife who’s name is ironically faith and would definitely not leave the beliefs he had to meet with the devil. He doesn’t fully live up to his name.
Exploring the Nature of Humanity in ‘Young Goodman Brown’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” explores the nature of humanity in a Puritan based atmosphere. Through the uses of literary devices such as symbolism, personification, irony, repetition, and tone Hawthorne conveys the message that corruption and evilness exist in humanity, even if it’s not clearly being shown, in everyday life.
Hawthorne uses symbolism in the names of his characters to further amplify the façade of pureness within them. The characters’ names are symbolic because they all express a kind of innocence. The use of “Good” in the characters’ names, Goodman Brown and Goody Cloyse, demonstrate how their town believes them to be good honest people. As seen in what Goodman Brown thinks of himself and his family, “We have been a race of honest men and good Christians, since the days of the martyrs”. However, this is symbolic because the elder traveler later reveals that they are in fact, not as good and honest as the façade they have put up. The traveler explains all the sinful deeds he’s watched Brown’s family act on. Faith’s name is symbolic for the trust that Brown once had for his wife and his religion. “With Heaven above and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil!”. This quote expresses Brown’s faith he had prior to what he had witnessed in the forest that night.
Personification, tone, and symbolism were heavily used to demonstrate the snake-like staff in order to highlight the vivid details and give examples to evilness in humanity throughout the story. The use of personification to describe the snake staff connects the reader into believing that the staff has any true power. The staff appeared to have been “twisting” and “wriggling” represents the tone of corruption and how the staff has the power to do so. The touch of the staff was able to interrupt a woman praying, and have her cry out words of the devil. The staff even had the power to move Brown along after he clearly stated he was done moving further into the forest. The traveler already knew the power of his staff with the use of, “Sit here and rest yourself a while; and when you feel like moving again, there is my staff to help you along”. Hawthorne includes this interaction between Brown and the traveler to foreshadow that Brown would later do the opposite of what he intended to do, move deeper into the forest. Also exemplifying the power, the snake staff holds. Hawthorne also includes symbolism as describing the staff to being “remarkable” and to which “bore the likeness of a great black snake”. The snake being black further alludes to the mystery, evil, and power that the staff holds.
Hawthorne uses the repetition of “race” to instill in the minds of the readers that the race he’s talking about is humanity as a whole. Specifically, when the dark figure says “Welcome, my children,”, “to the communion of your race!”, Hawthorne demonstrates the human race in a negative tone. Such as when he includes the phrase “mourn for our miserable race” it’s used to dictate his disdain for the human race.
The use of “young” in the title “Young Goodman Brown” is symbolic because exhibits to the reader that Goodman Brown shows youth and naivety; even though Brown is no longer young because he’s old enough to be married and lives with his wife. It is shown through the use of dialogue and Brown’s own thoughts that he never truly knew the evilness that surrounded him until his night in the forest. Brown’s confusion when he realizes, “That old woman taught me my catechism!”, and yet she was partaking in activities of evilness shows the reader that Brown is now having doubts about the pureness and honesty of the townspeople. The doubt Brown feels conveys Hawthorne’s message that evil exists in humanity. Yet it’s not always clear where the evil exists. Brown expresses how he thought the woman was going to heaven, and if that’s any reason he should abandon his faith in the religion. Brown’s out-loud expression of doubt is ironic because from this the reader would believe he would stick with his faith. However, Brown goes through a change after witnessing “all faces that would be seen, next day,” “from the holiest pulpits in the land”. People Brown thought to be believers of God “these elders of the church, these chaste dames and dewy virgins” were all “wretches given over to all mean and filthy vice, and suspected even of horrid crimes”. This exposition of Brown’s breaking point conveys what Hawthorne wants the reader to see, “Evil is the nature of mankind”.
Faith’s pink ribbon is symbolic of the love and compassion their marriage holds. When Brown was sure of his religion, he would always call faith his “love”. He loves faith so much that he becomes full of guilt when he thinks about how he left her. “What a wretch am I, to leave her on such an errand!” This tells the reader he knows what he’s doing is wrong, and yet he keeps going. When he first sees Faith after his night in the woods her pink ribbons were seen “gazing anxiously forth”.
Hawthorne uses personification to display the anxiety Brown has for their marriage, and for if Faith made the decision to stray away from the witchcraft. When Brown “looked sternly and sadly into her face, and passed on without a greeting”. It was clear he felt that way toward the puritan belief. There is a direct correlation to how he feels about his religion, and how he feels about his wife. Brown “turned away” from his wife because his guilty conscious of his new-found disdain of religion. Not only does he lose his faith in religion, that night, but he also loses a part of his wife that night.
In conclusion, Hawthorne uses storytelling to convey how he views humanity. Through the use of tone, the reader is able to gather that Hawthorne feels negatively towards the human race. Hawthorne explores his negative view of the world through the guilty conscious of Goodman Brown. He uses symbolism to create a deeper meaning within his story. Hawthorne tells the story of a seemingly good man, in a town of good people, and with the use of symbolism he alludes to the evilness and corruption taking place in humanity. He explores the meaning of good and bad. The idea that people can seem good, but in reality, is far from it.
The Symbolism of the Character of Goodman Brown’s Wife, Faith
When “Young Goodman Brown” is read simply, the role of Goodman Brown’s wife, Faith, can easily be interpreted as an allegory of Brown’s own faith. Hawthorne has written the story in a way that allows the reader to interpret it using their own experiences as a guide. If the reader looks deeper, it becomes apparent that Hawthorne is alluding to more than just Faith as one’s faith becoming lost and corrupted. Hawthorne uses this story to illustrate that faith is more complex than blindly following a religion. True faith is not perfect and requires questioning. Ignorance of other’s actions is not bliss, and faith is not breaking down when the moral depravity of others is revealed. How one reacts to this unveiling and continues to have faith is what is important.
When Goodman Brown’s wife is introduced in the opening paragraph it is stated, “And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap”. (Hawthorne 1) Hawthorne chooses the word ‘aptly’ to describe Faith’s name because he wants the reader to automatically be able to infer the relationship between Faith and religious faith. He goes a step further by describing the ribbons in Faith’s hair to give her the air of innocence and naivety that is often associated with faith. The next paragraph is where the reader is required to delve deeper to understand Hawthorne’s message. Faith says to her husband, “A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts, that she’s afeard of herself, sometimes. Pray, tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year!” (2) This line begs the question, why would Faith, who is up until this point an allegory for religious faith, be afraid of what she might do? This is the first sign that Faith is not perfect, and Hawthorne is hinting at how faith is not faultless even in this pure town. However, just after that line, Brown thinks, “Well; she’s a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night, I’ll cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven”. (7) Brown is not listening to what Faith is saying, he is seeing her as a two-dimensional figure who is meant to keep him safe and bring him to heaven after the sinful act he is going to commit.
Goodman Brown has always held his faith strong and believes that the pious people in his village are inherently good. When he hears them mixing together with the ungodly people, his faith wavers. This is demonstrated by Faith appearing, “There was one voice, of a young woman, uttering lamentations, yet with an uncertain sorrow, and entreating for some favor, which, perhaps, it would grieve her to obtain”. (47) This represents the impasse Brown has reached. He was originally curious about what was happening in the woods, but he has now decided to take a stand against the devil. Faith represents the struggle between fulfilling his curiosity and learning the world was not how he thought, or staying in his own realm of naivety. Faith demonstrates the sorrow Brown feels for leaving behind his innocence as well as the anguish his newfound knowledge will cause him. When Brown catches Faith’s pink ribbon in his hands he believes it to mean his Faith is gone and, at this moment, his religious faith is also gone, “There is no good on earth, and sin is but a name. Come, devil! for to thee is this world given”. (50) Without faith, there is no hope, and Brown loses his blessed ignorance of the real world.
Throughout the story, Brown relies on his Faith to save him, “Depending upon one another’s hearts, ye had still hoped that virtue was not all a dream!” (65) this line demonstrates that one cannot depend on another to be their savior. Hawthorne uses irony here to allude to the ending where Brown is not sure whether the night’s events were a dream or not. In the church, Communion is “the realization of the relationship between Christ and the communicant”. (Merriam-Webster) When the devil says, “Welcome… to the communion of your race,” (Hawthorne 65) he is referencing the Act of Communion in the church. This moment signifies the realization of the relationship between people and the inevitable sin. It is important to the story because it shows that even with all the horror and terror that goes on in the world it is imperative to maintain your faith. “Prepare to lay the mark of baptism upon their foreheads, that they might be partakers of the mystery of sin, more conscious of the secret guilt of others”. (67) This moment represents Brown losing his ingenuousness. He decides to “resist the Wicked One” (68) and in this resists the knowledge that life is not as black and white as he thought. When Hawthorne writes, “whether Faith obeyed, he knew not”. (69) This signifies that Brown doesn’t know whether he believes in his faith anymore. At the beginning of the story, Brown was sure that Faith was going to save him and now he is not even sure if he can trust her to listen to him.
Faith is not an allegory for faith the way most people think of religious faith. The message in Hawthorne’s story is that faith must be questioned, and it is not perfect. Goodman Brown’s view of Faith and his actual faith changes in this initiation story. He starts with believing fully in the goodness of the other villagers in his town to shutting them all out entirely. Hawthorne wants people to recognize that even when it is revealed that something is completely different than what was originally thought, it does not mean it is necessary to lose faith in humanity or God. Faith does not mean thinking everything is perfect in the world, it means realizing it isn’t and still living life and having faith. Hawthorne is letting the reader decide what they believe happened in the story; however, the ending calls the reader to be wary of cynicism. Hawthorne allows the reader’s imagination to create their own ending and this exposes the reader to the knowledge that nothing is two-dimensional and that each perspective is different.