Professor Carl Miller
25 June 2011
Goodman Brown’s Loss of Innocence
Since the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, the temptation of sin is what inevitably dictates people’s lives. In the allegorical story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, he portrays man’s struggle with temptation through the use of the protagonist, Goodman Brown. Goodman Brown, looses his innocence while he travels deeper into the dark forest, and has an experience that forever left an impression on his life. Hawthorne relies on symbolism to overall portray the allegorical journey of the fall of man to sin.
The story begins when Goodman Brown has to leave his beautiful wife, Faith, whose name is no accident, to go on a journey in the dark woods. Faith is a young, caring woman who wears pink ribbons in her hair, which symbolizes her youth and innocence. When Goodman Brown had to part from Faith he proclaimed, “Well, she’s a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night I’ll cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven (245).” Faith symbolizes Goodman Brown’s faith in God and goodness in the world. Like many weakened Christian believers, Goodman Brown has intentions of taking care of his faith once he returns from his journey in the woods, which describes his temptation with sin. His wife Faith portrays everything that is pure and holy to Goodman Brown.
Goodman Brown is at first very hesitant of his journey in the forest. However, his concern slowly weakens whenever he meets his companion, a character who appears as an image of his dark and evil side. His companion symbolizes the devil, directing him down the road of evil through the forest. He even possessed a staff, “which bore the likeness of a great black snake (246).” The snake-like appearance of the staff symbolizes the cunning and dangerous character of his companion. At the beginning of the story Goodman Brown declines the staff from his companion, showing that he can overcome the evil...