“He beheld the figure of a man, in the grave and decent attire.” The devil does not resemble the traditional image of a tailed figure and horned with a pitchfork because he is dressed decently enough. The fact remains that he resembles Young Goodman Brown and possessed and had “an indescribable air of one who knew the world”. Note the pan implies a grave implies serious and where dead people often go. The devil was easily detected because Young Goodman Brown resided in the devil’s domain. All the indirect suggestions here together with mystical ideas that are used in the above expression form part of a stylistic device in literature and poetry called symbolism. Symbolism refers to a literary style that makes use of symbolic images together with indirect suggestions to make the express statement of mind, mystical ideas as well as one’s emotions. “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s is full of symbolism throughout the entire story as we are going to see. The interesting and identifiable aspects of symbolism in the story include the title of the character Young Goodman Brown and his wife Faith. The woods that he entered through his journey is another aspect of symbolism. Many more illusions that are linked to Christianity and moral religious hypocrisy which is the main theme of the set text as the paper illustrates include the name good, which is referenced to a good Christian.
In the story, the inner conflicts of one’s major faith in religion and the knowledge that mankind has upon sin indiscretions. Through symbolism, Hawthorne has managed to emphasize the theme of the story. Goodman lives in aptly with her lovely wife Faith. The religious convictions attached to Brown assure him that his lovely wife will be safe while Brown will be meeting with the devil. However, his faith is faltered when he sees his catechism teacher, Goody Cloyse, talks with the devil. At a time later, Brown realizes that all his friends are just but sinners including his family members. He then loses faith in humanity and takes the decision of joining the Black Mass. He ends up spending the rest of his life suspicious of each and every individual surrounding him at any time while he is ashamed of his weaknesses. From the moment Brown steps in the bush, he views the forest as an entire place where no good can be found. He ends up echoing the seventeen-century puritan’s dominant point (Snodgrass, 34). Like any other creature associated the forest with wild Indians and easily concludes that the devil can be in such places like behind big trees. These happenings are in support of the theme, the fear in the wilderness.
Nathaniel uses names, the title of the book, the color to symbolize the written characters and the circumstances under which the characters are depicted from. The following are the symbols represented by the names associated in the book
Goodman refers to the Puritan system of address for any man. Thus, Brown is chipped in to symbolize everyman. Goody Cloyse is the second character. Literary, “Goody” refers to a short form of a good wife. This, however, is ironical since this is the wife who accompanies deacon Gookin and rides upon a broom. Traveler, who is the old man who accompanies Brown into the forest look like Goodman. A symbol that evil is universal in his family and wickedness is subject to every human heart. Faith is another name that is symbolic. It represents the innocence of Goodman Brown. She, however, goes missing the moment Brown enters the forest. Evil Assembly which is referred to be the Black Mass of the bush, as well as the puritan’s assembly, symbolizes the insincerity of entering the moral wilderness without fully being convinced after adopting the wilderness beliefs.
Pink ribbons symbolize the innocence. They are however taken away from faith the moment she enters the bush primordial. Serpent-like staffs that belong to old traveler represents the devil. Forest, on the other hand, is a symbol of unknown and subconscious. The wilderness is a very dark place to enter, this represents the presence of nightmares and confusions when one enters. Goodman’s decision to venture into the forest also symbolizes the start of the battle between the good vs the evil whereby he falls in the dilemma of staying with faith or and the temptations of falling into the trap of faith. For instance, he starts shouting, “too far, too far”, the moment he realizes that he may end up walking too interior and increase his chances of falling seductive of the devil (Hawthorne, 79). It is the sinister pathway through which Brown begins his spiritual journey which later turns to be a very dark dream ad he ends up questioning his beliefs as well as the surrounding members. He however never finds an answer to his questions.
Salem is one of the most disreputable towns in America during the colonial times. In the year 1962, it was dominated by issues concerning witchcraft. Despite the reputation that this tow had about witch lifestyle, at its center was hypocrisy of the highest order as the citizens were encouraging the trial to take place. It is symbolic therefore to assume that the people of Salem would have empathized with the devil.
Symbolism in Goodman Brown has got a very big role to play. Symbolism has added an extra dimension to the narrative. An extra dimension is added in the sense that actions, actors and motivational thoughts are put into practice (Jung, 23). Symbolism has given Hawthorne an opportunity to comment on larger issues that are in line with this story. Otherwise, the text could have been very shallow. The available them in the story have been made easy to understand from symbolism. Hawthorne has been given a wider range of making the readers understand and support every theme that they want to be worked upon by. The complex matters in the book have been transformed into very simple tasks. For instance, the relevance of the pink ribbons could have remained very difficult for the readers to understand if it was to give out in a different way. Symbolism has enabled Hawthorne to unveil all his matters from mystery to reality. The mystery that was encountered in the forest is made to reality by an introduction of different symbols from the names of the characters involved to the things that are symbolized. In the context that Hawthorne uses the two, they easily merge one another in putting reality in a mysterious environment (Cohen, 101). To finish with, the theme of fear in the wilderness is clearly brought out through the incorporation of selecting words appropriately that signify particular resemblance. These names include Goodman and Clyne perfectly fit this theme.