The Theme Of Symbolism In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

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Nathaniel Hawthorne and Thomas Whitecloud symbolism contribute to the development of their story themes. These symbols uncover the truths within the characters. Hawthorne’s title, “Young Goodman Brown,” itself is a symbol. Goodman Brown loses his innocence in his ability to be corrupted. The main theme of identity crisis in Whitecloud’s “Blue Winds Dancing” is shown through the use of weather symbolism.

In “Young Goodman Brown,” Hawthorne shows contradictory aspects of Puritanism. Brown’s “every man” shows the mix of good and evil within everyone. This is established when he discovers the sins of his father and grandfather. “The Puritan has just seen the sinfulness of his neighbors and friends clearly exposed, and has become acutely aware of the evil in his own heart” (Easterly) This reveals that the Puritan society also has a darkness. As he turns away from Puritanism, Brown embraces evil thoughts and gives way to evil action. He heads into the forest taking a path with trees that create a door-like closing that separates him literally and figuratively from his village. Though he fears what lies in the forest, he wants to see how strong his faith is. Faith that is strong in
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Brown’s innocence is lost when he is able to be corrupted. He is not able decipher whether the night’s events are real. If they are real, then he has seen the corruptness of those around him. If they were a dream, then it shows an idea of his dark side. His wife’s name, Faith, and her pink hair ribbons are also symbolic. They show how he is being torn between his faith and being like the other men in his village. The pink ribbons symbolize purity. When Brown sees the ribbons in the forest, he thinks Faith has gone to the devil and believes that the innocence has been lost. When he sees Faith back in the village, she has her ribbons, which further leads his questioning of whether the events in the forest actually took

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