Young Goodman Brown

Cynthia Moten
Mr. Michael Williams
Eng 1102
08 September 2012
Short Story of “Young Goodman Brown”
In this short story entitled “Young Goodman Brown,” Nathaniel Hawthorne, through diction, symbolism and imagery clearly portrays that nothing is as it seems on the surface. The continual theme throughout the essay is the idea that perception is not always consistent with reality. The author not only used perception from the viewpoint of the characters but also the reader. From the use of names to the dreary imagery, Hawthorne never drifts from his theme of perception vs. reality.
Goodman Brown is introduced to the reader as a young newlywed about to embark on his first overnight venture away from his wife. Both are apprehensive, but Goodman appears to have an unavoidable duty to complete this task. Hawthorne describes his wife as “aptly named Faith” (605), as he describes her pink ribbon and matronly dress.   Through diction, the author creates a picture of Goodman Brown as a man with strong virtues.   He believed in God, the people in his community and Heavenly things. He loved his wife, Faith. He thinks of her as an angel; someone he would follow to heaven.
Through imagery, Hawthorne describes Goodman Brown’s journey as a walk down a “dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest” (Hawthorne, 606) through a narrow path.   This description sets the tone of something evil.   He meets the devil disguised as an older man who had the class of someone fit to sit with nobles.   Someone that one would not be afraid to walk with in the dark of the night. The only weird thing about him was his staff, “which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought, that it might almost seem to twist and wriggle itself, like a living serpent” (Hawthorne, 607). The author presented the devil as a seemingly non threatening old man who, in some ways, reminded Goodman of himself. Goodman responded well to the devil until other aspects made him realize the...