Good vs. Evil Young Goodman Brown

8 August 2016

Symbolism is shown through many ways in different stories. It is mainly shown through the main theme as well as the smaller themes that are throughout the story. Symbolism is shown through many different parts of this story as well as through each character in unique ways. In the short story, “Young Goodman Brown,” by Nathanial Hawthorn, a story is told about a man named Goodman Brown, who is put through the difficulty of dealing with a similar struggle one night. The characters in, “Young Goodman Brown,” take part in a very important meaning behind the stories symbolism.

The protagonist of the story, Goodman Brown, his name has a very obvious meaning. When taken apart, it is split into two pieces of “good man,” and brings the thoughts of this character being a very responsible character throughout this story. Goodman’s wife, Faith, has another symbolic name, relating to religious beliefs, not only for herself, but for Goodman as well. A part in the story, Goodman stated, “Faith kept me back a while” (Hawthorne). This could be taken as his wife held him back, or the religious belief part held him back.

Good vs. Evil Young Goodman Brown Essay Example

Symbolism being shown through these two characters names shows more than just two characters as themselves, it shows how the story can be looked at in more depth and understood behind a different meaning. This story takes place in a dark forest in Salem, Massachusetts. Forests are used to symbolize evil and danger, or even the darkness of the forest may symbolize danger. When Goodman is walking through the forest he soon says to himself, “There may be a devilish Indian behind every tree…What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow! ” (Hawthorne).

Taking the walk deeper into the forest, Goodman soon experiences more things that relate with evil and danger, and the further he goes into the forest, the darker the atmosphere gets. This can add that the deeper the goes into the forest, the closer he gets to the Devil and the deeper he goes towards evil. When he is soon alone, he then claims he hears voices, and he has now lost his wife. Not only has he lost his wife, but also he had found the pink ribbon, which concluded he had also shattered his beliefs. Everything was gone from him; all of the good was taken out of him and replaced with evil.

Goodman also ends up meeting the man who turns out to be the devil in this forest, and that also adds onto the symbolism of the forest referring to danger and evil. The main theme throughout this story is clearly stated as good vs. evil and is shown through many options of symbolism. Young Goodman Brown and his wife state the symbolism behind their names is being the portion of good while the forest that Goodman travels in alone, the darkness of the scenery, the devil that he meets inside are parts of the portion of evil.

Everyone struggles with good and evil in many different ways. Shown in this story, Nathanial Hawthorne was trying to point out that each person who faces a battle between good vs. evil, it is much easier to stray away from the good then it is to stay away from evil. Nathanial Hawthorne shows irony throughout this story as well, and concludes with Goodman facing different battles that wipe out the good inside of him and change everything over to evil.

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