Taylor Howe Magee English 102 Fiction Essay Symbolism In Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown Like in most of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s works, Young Goodman Brown is set in the 17th century when Puritanism was widely practiced. He is also no stranger to jam packing his stories with allegories and deeper meanings that are often left up to the reader to decide and this one is no exception. Hawthorne uses symbolism throughout the story to creatively tell the chilling tale of Young Goodman Brown and his battle with morality and faith. Young Goodman Brown is a character who is supposed to symbolise exactly what his name entails; a good, young, innocent, and god fearing man. He is an example of a model citizen and puritan from the era this story is set in. Goodman Brown is also a representation of the fall of man and a loss of innocence and faith. ” ‘My Faith is gone!’ cried he, after one stupefied moment. ‘There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil! For to the this world is given.” (77) Next the old traveler Goodman Brown meets in the woods is actually Satan, who is trying to lead him to the ritualistic gathering in the middle of the forest. It is also important to note that the forest, and nature in general, are symbols of evil and the devil’s domain, while the town is a symbol of civilization and godliness. The staff the old man keeps offering Goodman Brown, “Bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought, that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent.”(71) This is an allegory to the first book of the Bible where the devil takes the form of a snake and tempts eve to sin, resulting in the fall of man. Lastly Faith is Goodman Brown’s young wife. Faith is a symbol of actual faith in God and purity. Faith is described by Brown as “A blessed angel on Earth.” (70) and that when he returns from his travels the next day he will, “Cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven.” (70) Faith is also depicted with pink ribbons in her cap, pink being a color that represents purity and innocence and the ribbons are a symbol of gaiety and youthfulness as well. At the end of the story when Young Goodman Brown loses Faith at the gathering, it’s an allegory for him losing his faith in god. ” ‘My Faith is gone!’ cried he, after one stupefied moment. ‘There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil! For to the this world is given.” (77) Young Goodman Brown is a story chock full of imagery and symbolism. Hawthorne uses everything from names, to colors, to objects and even scenery as symbols for deeper meanings that sometimes can be hard to pick up on at first. All the allegories, big and small, are what make this short story feel so deep and meaningful despite being only 48 pages long.