Hawthornes Wilderness: Nature and Puritanism in Hawthornes the Scarlet Letter and Young Goodman Brown by Marina BoonyaprasopNathaniel Hawthorne is one of Americas most noted and highly praised writers, and a key figure in US literature. Although, he struggled to become an acknowledged author for most parts of his life, his work stands in the limelight of the American literary consciousness (Graham 5). For he is a direct descendant of Massachusetts Bay colonists in the Puritan era of the 17th and 18th century, New England served as a lifelong preoccupation for Hawthorne, and inspired many of his best-known stories. Hence, in order to understand the author and his work, it is crucial to apprehend the historical background from which his stories arose. The awareness of the Puritan legacy in Hawthornes time, and their Calvinist beliefs which contributed to the establishment of American identity, serve as a basis for fathoming the intention behind Hawthornes writings. His forefathers concept of wilderness became an important part of their religious life, and in many of Hawthornes tales, nature can be perceived as an active agent for the plot and the moral message. Therefore, it is indispensable to consider the development behind the Puritan perception, as well as the prevailing opinion on nature during the writers lifetime. After the historical background has been depicted, the author himself is focused. His ambiguous character and non-persistent lifestyle are the source of many themes which can be retrieved from his works. Thus, understanding the man behind the stories is necessary in order to analyze the tales themselves. Seclusion, nature, and Puritanism are constantly recurring topics in the authors life and work. To become familiar with Hawthornes relation to nature, his ancestors, and religion, it is essential to understand the vast amount of symbols his stories. His stories will be brought into focus, and will be analyzed on the basis of the historical and biographical facts, and further, his particular style and purpose will be taken into consideration.The second part of t
Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Highschool class project)
Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown Symbolism and Analysis
Hawthorne frequently focuses on the tensions within Puritan culture, yet steeps his stories in the Puritan sense of sin. In a symbolic fashion, the story follows Young Goodman Brown's journey into self-scrutiny, which results in his loss of virtue and belief. The story begins at dusk in Salem Village, Massachusetts as young Goodman Brown leaves Faith, his wife of three months, for some unknown errand in the forest. Faith pleads with her husband to stay with her, but he insists that the journey must be completed that night. In the forest he meets an older man, dressed in a similar manner and bearing a physical resemblance to himself.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Young Goodman Brown" is presented as an allegory of the danger inherent in abandoning one's Christian faith, even for one evening. As such, the story absolutely overflows with symbolism. There is intentionally not a great deal of subtlety in these symbols, as Hawthorne clearly wants them to be obvious to even the least attentive reader. A thoughtful reading of the story, however, particularly the rather melancholy last few paragraphs, reveals deeper shades of meaning and irony than one might initially expect. Before exploring these intriguing depths, I will describe Hawthorne's use of striking symbols to illustrate the story's more superficial meaning.
That is, he writes about the nature of historical understanding by referring to historical situations or figures. In his better works he writes about this history allegorically, which I hope to clarify in this essay.
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Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Essay
It is important that his innocence should derive from his youth. Also, Goodman used formerly as a courtesy title before the surname of a man not of noble birth represents you and me, the everyman, the ordinary man of that time who is vulnerable to suspicion and self-doubt. At the end he feels everyone is capable of some evil, even if they appear to be the most pious in the community. She symbolizes Brown's spiritual faith. When he sees her in the forest at the witches' sabbath, he realizes he is in danger of losing not only his wife but also his spiritual faith.
The time period which Hawthorne wrote in was known as the Romantic Period. Characteristics of the American Romantic period include a fascination with the supernatural, an impulse toward reform, the celebration of the individual, a reverence for nature, and the idealization of women for a more in depth look at American Romanticism, follow the above link. Although Brown dies a bitter man, blaming the wickedness and hypocrisy of others, he leaves his Faith first. Young Goodman Brown — This too is a hammer over the head symbol. Young Goodman Brown symbolizes the innocence of young, good men, who are all tempted and to some extent all give in.
Hawthorne uses a variety of light and dark imagery, names, and people to illustrate irony and different translations. Young Goodman Brown is a story about a man who comes to terms with the reality that people are imperfect and flawed and then dies a bitter death from the enlightenment. Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts. At the age of four, his father passed away from yellow fever, forcing his family to move in with his uncle. The positively influential Uncle Robert Manning pushed Hawthorne to succeed in school and insisted he go to college. Following his education at Bowdoin College, Hawthorne spent years in isolation mastering the art of writing.