A Loss of Faith (Young Goodman Brown) Essay

1484 Words Apr 9th, 2012 6 Pages
A Loss of Faith

The short story “Young Goodman Brown” functions as an allegory of the Biblical fall of man, from which Nathaniel Hawthorne draws to illustrate what he sees as the inherent fallibility and hypocrisy in American religion. Hawthorne sets up a story of a man who is tempted by the devil and succumbs because of his curiosity and the weakness of his faith. Throughout the story Goodman struggles, not only with his Faith in Religion but also, his faith in people. The characters (Goodman Brown and Faith) draw a connection to the story of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 3. Like Adam and Eve, Goodman and Faith fall prey to the temptations presented by the Devil. However, where we know that Adam and Eve both
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In old times, the forest was considered a place of evil so Brown’s errand in a dense forest suggests that he is up to something bad. Brown’s journey through the forest is on a narrow, dark, and dull path. The darkness and dreariness symbolize the evil that hides in the forest. The narrowness of the path symbolizes that Brown is surrounded by evil.

In the forest, Young Goodman Brown meets a companion, an older man who symbolizes the devil. Hawthorne indicates the man bears a striking resemblance to Brown, so much that he is called the “Elder Goodman Brown.” The staff the man carries is a serpent recalling the snake in Eden. Allegorically the devil stands for Goodman Brown’s hereditary predilection to evil. This idea of evil past, present and future is an example of the allegorical nature the story has in relation to the Fall of Man. It is Hawthorne's intention to display the sin that we have all inherited through Adam and Eve.
Brown is enticed not only by the forest but also by the people in it. The Devil begins reeling off a list of allegedly righteous men and women, both personal acquaintances and public figures, who are actually in his power, carrying sin in their hearts. The devil also claims that Brown's own father and grandfather fell under his spell, saying “I have been as

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