Written in 1835, Nathaniel Hawthorne's, "Young Goodman Brown" is a narrative that demonstrates ambivalence, although there is more than just that. Hawthorne in his attempts to put in writing a tale founded on 17th century proceedings has discovered a narrative that has twofold implication all through. He employs themes, plot, personalities and imagery to develop a narrative that is rooted in human character and the struggle involving integrity and wickedness. Hawthorne is concerned with discovering the mental and societal impacts of guilty awareness, whether or not that awareness is based on truth. He applies the blend of these items to make the tale one that everybody can be connected with. The vague imagery and the figurative environment of "Young Goodman Brown" guarantee unrelenting significance and dynamic significant consideration. Hawthorne's utilization of ambivalence is applied using his main character, Goodman Brown. Ambivalence is the contrasting emotions that transpire inside the same individual when the individual undergoes particular ideals. In the narrative, Goodman goes through a conflict inside himself involving righteousness and wickedness (Levy 111).
Hawthorne recurrently applied emblems and figurative speech to offer extra implication to the realistic understanding of his writing. His Puritan ancestry also added significantly to his work. Rather than being in conformity with Puritanism, Hawthorne would conversely denounce it through the emblems and themes in his work and allegory. Somewhat several of these motifs and themes transpire once more in Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”. One predominantly obvious theme in Hawthorne’s writing is that of undisclosed sin. This theme is evident in the story when young Mr. Brown imagines that he is guided by the devil to a witching party (Levy 115).
Puritan principle educated people that all men are completely immoral and need continuous self-assessment to observe that they are offenders and undeserving of God's Grace. The control of Puritan faith, customs and teaching together with the surroundings of his homeland of Salem, Massachusetts, is an ordinary subject in Nathaniel Hawthorne's writings. Particularly, Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" permits the author to inspect and possibly give remarks on not only the Salem of his current life but also the Salem of his predecessors. While growing up, Hawthorne could not get away from the control of Puritan culture, not only from dwelling with his father's religious Puritan relatives as a youngster but also owing to Hawthorne's learning of his personal ancestry. The minister in the story is an illustration of crooked clergy since he attends the witches’ gathering just one day prior to the day he would go before the worshippers of his church and sermon the word of God. He is undoubtedly another reflection of Hawthorne’s belief in the insincerity of Puritanism (Levy 120).
Hawthorne’s awareness of the chronological setting of Puritanism merged with the private knowledge of his premature life and the account of his own ancestors combine into a structure in which characters cannot rely on themselves, their fellow citizens, their mentors or even their priests cannot form an environment where devotion exists. Although a writing of fiction, "Young Goodman Brown'' is extensively believed to be one of the most effectual fictional stories to deal with the hysterics about the Salem Witch judgments of 1692. Hawthorne is as well commemorated for assisting to set up the tale as a cherished outline of literature and as a supporter of inculcating ethics and teachings into his work (Martin 92).
The main character, Young Goodman Brown, is an outstanding illustration of symbolism being employed in the narrative. To begin with, the name Young Goodman Brown means that he is certainly a good person, which is an allusion to his Christian conviction. Furthermore, in the beginning of the narrative, he is mentioned as Young Goodman Brown, with the stress on “Young” as an indication to his virtue, and signifies that he is blameless and pure. After he goes into the woods, nonetheless, he is no longer called Young Goodman Brown, rather Goodman Brown, as if the virtuousness and innocence he formerly had is no longer in him. He abandoned his spouse, Faith, for transgression and wickedness in the forest, so he does not deserve the identify Young Goodman Brown any more. At the outset, he is an inexperienced and undeveloped young man who misunderstands the significance of the action he has taken, which is followed by a seemingly adult willpower to oppose his personal wicked desires (Hawthorne 405).
Although Faith is an ordinary female name, is has a significant meaning in this narrative. Her name, by itself, indicates that she is a symbol of decency and the Christian being that Young Goodman Brown abandons when he heads off for his journey. In the narrative, it declares that Faith summons him and he turns away from her, which can also be taken factually or in the perspective of one going against God and the Christian faith, since he goes into the woods, an allusion of transgression and witchcraft. Faith is represented as a young bride; in her hair, she puts on pink ribbons, which are a symbol of her virtue and lightheartedness, almost resembling a child. Faith, initially symbolizes her husband’s naive spirituality when the story begins (Hawthorne 407). Historically, Christianity has been associated with obedience and devoutness rather than reason or logic. At the beginning of the story, Faith, symbolized by childlike assurance and innocence, uses her affection to stop her husband from going into the woods. When Goodman Brown detects the pink ribbons in his wife’s hair, he is receptive to her purity, thus when he comes across a pink ribbon which is owned by her hanging to a tree twig in the forest, he develops reservations towards his wife’s Christianity faith and the faith of all the people around him (Martin 97).
The forest is an essential emblem in the story of Young Goodman Brown. The narrative is written in the olden times, when the forests were considered as immorality places where witchcraft frequently occurred. This is emphasized when Goodman Brown notices the urban inhabitants amongst him in the forest, and is dismayed to notice them, his spouse (Faith) and the cleric as well. It is in the woods where Young Goodman Brown meets the person with a snakelike staff. Snakes represent the devil and this implies that the woods were the place of evil, sin and temptation. All these forms of symbolism and imagery allude to the theme of religion, as well as appearance vs. reality (The Literature Network 1).