Young Goodman Brown by Nathanial Hawthorne Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1089 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Literature

¶ … Young Goodman Brown by Nathanial Hawthorne. Specifically it will discuss symbolism in the short story. Symbolism is rampant in this short story of a young man who takes a trip into the forest and returns a changed man. Hawthorne symbolizes the evil likeness of the evil in many areas of the story, from the dank depressing forest to the traveler who carries a cane with the head of a snake. The devil lives in this story, and comes alive with the symbolism Hawthorne chooses to portray evil and fear.

The author creates tension and expectation of the appearance of the Devil early in the story. He writes, "There may be a devilish Indian behind every tree,' said Goodman Brown to himself; and he glanced fearfully behind him, as he added, 'What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow!'" (Hawthorne 62). Shortly after he begins his journey into this devilish place, he meets with a traveler who reminds him of his father. Hawthorne notes, "But the only thing about him, that could be fixed upon as remarkable, was his staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought, that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent" (Hawthorne 62). Clearly, the traveler symbolizes the devil, and the serpent imagery makes this even clearer. The dank forest symbolizes Hades, where the worst offenders spend their lives in despair. After this night in Hell, Brown will spend his life in despair and fear as well, so the symbolism continues even after he leaves the forest.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Young Goodman Brown by Nathanial Hawthorne. Specifically Assignment

The symbolism becomes clearer as the two men walk and talk on their way through the woods. The traveler says, "The deacons of many a church have drunk the communion wine with me. The selectmen, of divers towns, make me their chairman; and a majority of the Great and General Court are firm supporters of my interest'" (Hawthorne 63). This indicates how Hawthorne believes the devil lives inside many of the community and religious leaders, and they are swayed by impure thoughts and deeds. Therefore, the devil symbolizes their own moral and religious corruption. This is emphasized later in the story when the two men come upon Goody Cloyse who immediately recognizes the devil. Hawthorne writes, "Ah, forsooth, and is it your worship, indeed?' cried the good dame. 'Yea, truly is it, and in the very image of my old gossip, Goodman Brown, the grandfather of the silly fellow that now is'" (Hawthorne 65). It is clear the traveler symbolizes the devil, and the forest is Hades. The "good" people of Brown's village are not what they seem, however, and they symbolize the evil that can live inside everyone, no matter how good or pious they seem on the outside. One literary critic notes, "In all this there is simply an enforcement of the old, well-known, often illustrated truth, that there is a capacity for evil in the best of us, and that it rests very much within our own choice whether we shall be angels or devils, or in what proportion we shall mix the ingredients" (Crowley 99). This shows that Brown is surround by evil he could have never seen on his own, and that… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Young Goodman Brown by Nathanial Hawthorne.  (2007, April 26).  Retrieved April 1, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Young Goodman Brown by Nathanial Hawthorne."  26 April 2007.  Web.  1 April 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Young Goodman Brown by Nathanial Hawthorne."  April 26, 2007.  Accessed April 1, 2020.