Symbolism In Young Goodman Brown Essay Research

10 October 2017

Symbolism In Young Goodman Brown Essay, Research Paper

& # 8220 ; Nathaniel Hawthorne & # 8217 ; s work is typically fraught with symbolism, much of it deducing from his Puritan lineage ; a great-great uncle was really a justice in the Salem witchery tests & # 8221 ; ( Roth 76 ) . Not surprisingly, Hawthorne was obsessed with the duplicate subjects of wickedness and guilt. Author John Roth notes that & # 8220 ; A figure of repeating thematic forms and character types appear in Hawthorne & # 8217 ; s novels and narratives. These repeats show Hawthorne & # 8217 ; s accent on the effects of events on the human bosom instead than

the events themselves & # 8221 ; ( 76 ) . Because he is talking of what we subsequently would come to name the unconscious, Hawthorne extensively employed the usage of symbolism, which bypasses the witting, logical head to tap into its more surreal procedures.

& # 8220 ; The narrative begins as a conventional fable, making the outlook that the characters will systematically exhibit the abstractions they symbolize & # 8221 ; ( Levy 116 ) . & # 8220 ; Young Goodman Brown & # 8221 ; is an fable whose characters play a major function in exposing the finding of what to believe and what non to believe. The short narrative represents one adult male & # 8217 ; s wild journey to go forth his religion, place, and security temporarily behind to take a opportunity with the Satan on an escapade into a dark wood. In his short narrative & # 8220 ; Young Goodman Brown, & # 8221 ; the chief character goes away into the wood and undergoes a life-transforming experience at that place. The wood is a really existent symbol of the trial of strength, bravery, and endurance ; it took existent fortitude to last in the wood, and a immature individual come ining this wood would non emerge the same. However, this narrative is more symbolic than realistic, and the dangers are of the spirit. The narrative is a dream

vision, or witting twenty-four hours dream, that explains the subject of the narrative as being a formal fable composed of monolithic symbolism. Many symbols help the supporter Goodman Brown move toward a vision of immorality which causes an unexpected consequence of misgiving due to his unsure determination of sing a dream or world. In & # 8220 ; Young Goodman Brown & # 8221 ; the writer, Nathaniel Hawthorne, creates a short narrative that displays a clearly absent fable through the finding of the witting and unconscious, composed of an tremendous sum of symbolism interpreted from the scene, characters, and secret plan in the narrative.

To get down with, an fable is & # 8220 ; a signifier of drawn-out metaphor in which objects individuals, and actions in a narrative, are equated with the significances that prevarication outside the narrative itself. The underlying significance has moral, societal, spiritual, or political significance, and characters are frequently personifications of abstract thoughts as charity, greed, or enviousness & # 8221 ; ( Bereng 1 ) . In this instance, the narrative & # 8217 ; s scene, characters, and secret plan represent abstract constructs such as religion, artlessness, and evil. The narrative is allegorically centered around Young Goodman Brown. The characters & # 8217 ; names, Goodman and Faith, evidently bespeak how Hawthorne uses them as a spiritual fable to stand up against the immorality in the narrative.

It is no accident that such an experience should hold taken topographic point in a wood, for there is a long and highly profound tradition in our literature for experiences of this

nature holding taken topographic point in forest scenes. Psychologist Bruno Betelheim, for illustration, shows that in the common people narrative & # 8220 ; The Three Bears, & # 8221 ; Goldilocks encounters the bungalow of the three bears in a wood ; in & # 8220 ; Hansel and Gretel, & # 8221 ; the kids & # 8217 ; s male parent takes them off into the forest to abandon them and they have to happen their manner back out ; in & # 8220 ; Red Riding Hood, & # 8221 ; the small miss has to go through the wood to her grandma & # 8217 ; s house.

Betelheim besides observes that & # 8220 ; Since antediluvian times the near-impenetrable wood in which we get lost has symbolized the dark, concealed, near-impenetrable universe of our unconscious. If we have lost the model which gave construction to our past life and must now happen our ain manner to go ourselves, and have entered this wilderness with an as yet undeveloped personality, when we win in happening our ain manner out we shall emerge with a much more highly-developed humanity & # 8221 ; ( Betelheim 94 ) . However, this does non go on in & # 8220 ; Young Goodman Brown. & # 8221 ; Alternatively of courageously combating down the dangers of the wood and emerging more mature, Goodman Brown emerges a destroyed adult male. In order to find why, it is necessary to look at some of the other symbols in the narrative.

It should non get away attending that Goodman Brown & # 8217 ; s married woman, a blithe naif adult female, bears the name of Faith. Faith is by no agencies an unusual adult female & # 8217 ; s name, but it is important in this narrative that she is presented to us foremost as a really immature bride with

pink threads in her hair & # 8211 ; about like a kid. Her pink threads symbolize her young person and artlessness, and Faith in bend symbolizes her hubby & # 8217 ; s childlike spiritualty at the beginning of the narrative.

Now, in Christianity childlike religion is non a bad thing. Jesus said, for illustration, & # 8220 ; Truly I say to you, whoever does non have the land of God like a kid shall non come in it & # 8221 ; ( Mark 10:15 ) . Christianity historically has been a faith of obeisance and piousness much more than one of ground or logic, every bit much as the framers of the Age of Reason would wish to reason otherwise. As the narrative opens, we find Faith characterized by childlike assurance and pureness, contrasted with & # 8220 ; the adult male with the serpentine staff & # 8221 ; ( Hawthorne 266 ) , who attempts to carry Goodman Brown by & # 8220 ; concluding as we go & # 8221 ; ( 265 ) . Faith, it should be note

vitamin D, does non try to deter her hubby out of his purposes through ground but through fondness ; with “her lips. . . close to his ear” ( 264 ) , she asks Goodman Brown non to travel into the wood on his cryptic errand.

What is his errand? Hawthorne ne’er says, but clearly Goodman Brown has planned for it. He knows that the purpose of his journey is less than wholesome, for he feels guilty at go forthing Faith on & # 8220 ; such an errand & # 8221 ; ( 264 ) . Author Terence Martin speculates that & # 8220 ; [ Goodman Brown ‘s ] journey into the wood is best defined as a sort of general, undetermined fable, stand foring adult male & # 8217 ; s irrational thrust to go forth religion, place, and

security temporarily behind, for whatever ground, to take a opportunity with one more errand onto the Wilder shores of experience & # 8221 ; ( Martin 92 ) . Author Q.D. Leavis notes that & # 8220 ; The journey each must take entirely, in apprehension, at dark, is the journey off from place

and the community, from witting, mundane societal life, to the wilderness where the concealed ego satisfies, or is forced to recognize, its subconscious frights & # 8221 ; ( Leavis 36 ) . And

writer H.J. Lang observes that & # 8220 ; The subject of the narrative is merely, traveling to the Satan. What for? For lecherousness, surely, but more for cognition & # 8221 ; ( Lang 91 ) .

Goodman Brown besides seems to cognize whom he is traveling to run into at that place, because when he meets the adult male with the serpentine staff, he is startled by & # 8220 ; the sudden visual aspect of his comrade & # 8221 ; ( Hawthorne 265 ) who was however & # 8220 ; non wholly unexpected & # 8221 ; ( 265 ) . Snakes, of class, mean the Devil & # 8211 ; and if this person is

non himself the Devil he is surely, in camouflage, about indistinguishable to him. His staff is subsequently described as being & # 8220 ; twisted & # 8221 ; ( 266 ) every bit good.

Now, here are all of the elements of the quest narrative: the journey into an chartless and unsafe kingdom, typifying the unconscious ; and, shortly after the journey begins, the meeting with a usher who knows this forbidden and cryptic

district good. However, at this point the narrative veers significantly off from its traditional way. Goodman Brown announces that he does non desire to travel any farther into this wood. He has met the adult male at the border of the wood by pre agreement, in

response to a vow of some kind ; and, & # 8220 ; holding kept compact by run intoing thee here, it is my intent now to return whence I came. I have consciences touching the affair 1000

wor & # 8217 ; st of & # 8221 ; ( 265 ) .

Having read the full narrative, one can construe this on two degrees. Goodman Brown may experience, as he says, that the geographic expedition of this interior wood may be a wickedness. It is easier by far to follow the recognized way of religion, to walk, as the Church itself frequently

footings it, & # 8220 ; in the Light & # 8221 ; . By walking in the visible radiation, that is, by following exactly the dogmas of Christian life and by avoiding all state of affairss where morality does non split itself into clear countries of black and white, one feels safe, clean, and virtuous. By making this, one besides misses out on the deepness, the profusion, that a fuller experience of life might offer, but it is unimpeachably an easier way.

In decision, the writer Nathaniel Hawthorne creates a short narrative, & # 8220 ; Young Goodman Brown, & # 8221 ; that displays a clearly absent fable through the finding of the witting and unconscious, composed of an tremendous sum of symbolism interpreted from the scene, characters, and secret plan in the narrative. It can non be clearly known what Young Goodman Brown has done while come ining the forest & # 8211 ; experienced a wild dream or had a an experience with world. He knows why he is traveling, but he is in no manner prepared for what he will happen at that place, viz. the iniquitous natures non merely of himself but of his male parent, his gramps, his church community, and most horrifyingly of all, his married woman. He emerges from his experience wholly changed. But because he

was unprepared to accept with tolerance and grace the visions he would have at that place, he has been changed for the worse. He was supposed to larn that everyone is human, and therefore should be treated with compassion ; he alternatively learned that everyone is a

evildoer, and therefore everlastingly after he treats them with disdain. Enlightenment can leave great wisdom, but merely to those whose heads are unfastened vass to have it. Goodman Brown & # 8217 ; s is non.

Bereng, Cy. & # 8220 ; Allegory. & # 8221 ; Literary Footings. 10 April 2000. .

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Hawthorne, Nathaniel. & # 8220 ; Young Goodman Brown. & # 8221 ; Detecting Literature: Narratives,

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Lang, H.J. & # 8220 ; How Ambiguous is Hawthorne? & # 8221 ; Hawthorne: A Collection of Critical

Essaies. Ed. A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1966. 89-94.

Leavis, Q.D. & # 8220 ; Hawthorne as Poet. & # 8221 ; Hawthorne: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed.

A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1966. 36-39.

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Ed. Harold Bloom. New York, Philadelphia: Chelsea House P, 1986. 110-122.

Martin, Terence. & # 8220 ; Young Goodman Brown. & # 8221 ; Nathaniel Hawthorne. 1st Ed. New

York: Twayne P, 1965. 90-99.

Roth, John K. American Diversity, American Identity. New York: Henry Holt & A ; Co. ,


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