Symbolism of Characters' Personalities in "Young Goodman Brown"

Within the “Young Goodman Brown” story, Nathaniel Hawthorne employs symbolism to highlight the personalities of various characters. For example, a certain character named Faith campaigns for religious purity. The name ‘Faith’ thus symbolizes the Godly inclination of its beareri Likewise, a certain unnamed man carries a snake-shaped walking stick Given that this character persuades Brown to attend a devilish meeting, the snake-shaped walking stick has symbolic meaning; this walking stick reflects the evil inclination of its bearer.

This essay analyses “Young Goodman Brown” to show that symbolism highlights the personalities of both Faith and a certain man bearing a snake shaped walking stick Symbolism highlights Faith’s religious inclination in that the name ‘Faith’ reflects the religious character of its bearer. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the term ‘faith’ may refer to confidence in the existence of God, Alternatively, ‘faith’ may denote potent religious beliefs or feelings (Merriam-Webster).

Based on these definitions, it is interesting that the character named Faith roots for religious integrityi In this regard, Faith pleads with Young Goodman Brown, imploring Brown to abandon a planned meeting with some devilish characters (Hawthorne) Through her pleas, Faith illustrates that she does not want Brown to have spiritual union with these evil forces.

In this way, Faith lives up to the meaning of her name; she strives to dissuade Brown from abandoning his relationship with God From this analysis, it is clear that Hawthorne uses the name ‘Faith’ in a symbolic manner; this name reflects the godly personality of Faith.

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Further, symbolism is evident through the snake-shaped walking stick that is borne by a certain unnamed man; this walking stick reflects the evil inclination of its bearer.

The bearer of this walking stick is inclined toward evil because he struggles to convince Brown to attend a certain meeting that revolves around having communion with the devil (Hawthorne). This way, this unnamed man lives up to the symbolism of his snake»shaped walking stick Joshi (2007) confirms this view; this author notes that the man who bears a snake-shaped walking stick “is a sinister satanic figure“. It is important that Joshi refers to this man as a satanic character based on the snake—shaped walking stick, According to Joshi, this walking stick is symbolic, To gain more insights about the symbolism of this walking stick, a reader would look at the Bible that uses symbolism to refer to Satan, According to Genesis 3:14, Satan transformed himself into a snake and thereafter convinced Adam and Eve to transgress God‘s law (Carroll and Prickett)

Based on this account, it is clear that the Bible uses a snake to refer to Satan in a symbolic way, Given this Biblical background, it is evident that the snake-shaped walking stick has a symbolic meaning. This walking stick reflects the evil nature of its bearer. From this discussion, it is apparent that the snake-shaped walking stick symbolizes the Satan-inclined personality of its bearer In conclusion, “Young Goodman Brown” uses the name ‘Faith’ and a snake~shaped walking stick to communicate symbolic messages, The name ‘Faith‘ symbolizes the God- inclined personality of the character who bears it. Likewise, the snake-shaped walking stick symbolizes the satanic nature of its bearer. It would be insightful to investigate why these symbols have religious connotations. A reader adopting this line of investigation would find out whether Hawthorne was a religious individual.

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Symbolism of Characters' Personalities in "Young Goodman Brown". (2023, May 14). Retrieved from

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