Faith, Brown’’s wife, is asymbol herself. When he says, ““My love and my Faith,”” he isusing his wife as a symbol and is really referring to his loveand faith in God. He goes on to say ““this one night I must tarryaway from thee. ”” He means that he must part from his faith inGod to carry on with his journey. He also says to the devil, ““Faith kept me back awhile”” and is making reference to a higherbeing that is trying to keep him from making his journey bydelaying it. When Brown finds the pink ribbon that his wife waswearing lying in the forest he says, ““my Faith is gone”” and isreferring to himself as losing his faith in God.
Also, GoodmanBrown’’s ““errand”” symbolizes the Puritan voyage where they wereto find the plan that God has set for them and let faith be theirguidance. As Goodman Brown continues his ““errand”” and thingbegin to go array he grows weak and falls to the ground. He”begins to doubt whether there really was a Heaven above him” andthis is a key point when Goodman Brown’s faith begins to wain. Goodman Brown in panic declares that “With Heaven above, andFaith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil!” This issimilar to a Puritan putting his faith in God and following““God’’ Plan.
”” The forest that Goodman Brown ventures to initself is a symbol. In the Puritan days the townspeople werebarred from going into the forest because that is where evillurked and even says ““ my father never went into the woods……norhis father before him. ”” Hawthorne described the forrest as ““ adreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest””and even jokes of the evil lurking there when he says ““there maybe a devilish Indian behind every tree”” and ““What if the devilhimself should be at my very elbow!”” Hawthorne even uses themain character as a symbol. His name, Young Goodman Brown makesreference to him as being young and a good person. Then Hawthornegives him such a common last name that it relates him to any andeverybody, just like he does in one of his other short stories,““Everyman””, when he uses this as a reference to all of society.
Another symbol that is present in the story is the mysterious manin the forest. He symbolizes the devil or evil in the story andstrangely bears ““a considerable resemblance to GoodmanBrown. ”” The Devil had with him a staff that “bore the likenessof a great black snake”. The staff, which looked like a snake,symbolizes the snake in the story of Adam and Eve.
The snake ledAdam and Eve to their destruction by leading them to the Tree ofKnowledge, just as Brown is being led to unfathomed knowledge bythe devil, and in turn is being led to his destruction. Just likeAdam and Eve, when Brown finds the ““ fountain of all wickedarts”” his faith is exiled from him just as Adam and Eve werecast from the garden. The story as a whole symbolizes that thepotential for evil resides in everybody. The rest of Brown’’slife is destroyed because of his inability to face the truth ofsin and live with it. The story, which may have been a dream, andnot a real life event, planted the seed of doubt in Brown’s mind,which him to lose his faith in his fellow man and leaves himalone and depressed.
His life ends alone and miserable because hewas never able to look at himself and realize that what hebelieved were everyone else’s faults were his as well, and thisled to his isolation from the community. Brown was buried with”no hopeful verse upon his tombstone; for his dying hour wasBibliography: