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A deeper and more careful reading of the story exposes deeper shades of irony and meaning. Hawthorne particularly uses striking symbols in his attempt to illuminate the meaning of the story…
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Compare and Contrast The Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne has been presented as an allegory. A deeper and more careful reading of the story exposes deeper shades of irony and meaning. Hawthorne particularly uses striking symbols in his attempt to illuminate the meaning of the story. Symbolism is evident in this story right from the first paragraph. Readers learn that Goodman is moving away from Faith, his wife, to spend the night at the woods. Her name is a symbol in that it represents Goodman’s conviction in religion throughout the story (Dobie 60). Goodman Brown’s name is also symbolic in that he is young. This symbolizes that he is still innocent and yet to be corrupted by the world. She pleads with him not to leave, but he is determined to leave. The fact that it is sunset as he begins his journey is also symbolic. The evening gets darker until the scene reaches climax. This symbolizes God’s light that slowly fades from Goodman’s heart (Bloom 64).
Brown wanders into the woods with tangled ways, poor visibility, and dark. This symbolizes the confusion and loneliness of a life that is Godless. Goodman meets the devil who is described as being similar to him. This symbolizes the presence of the devil in the world according to the Christian domain. At this point, Brown makes at attempt to move away from the devil and go back to faith. He however does not achieve this and moves further into the forest where he meets several people, with the devil disappearing. When he is left alone, he tries to pray but he is distracted by a black cloud. This symbolizes how sin prevents people’s eyes from seeing the heavens (Ullen 371). Generally, symbolism within Young Goodman Brown is spiritual. Brown loses faith by following a path that is evil.
The devil and Tom Walker is another symbolic story that is written by Washington Irving. The main character of the story is Tom Walker, who is wretched and leads an unhappy life. His wife is his primary source of misery. Their house is located in a dreary and desolate place. The house seemed like it was haunted and lifeless with a gloomy sensation. The house has been used symbolically to represent how Tom and his wife lived in misery (Buchanam 67). The setting has further been portrayed symbolically to portray misery, worries, and sins.
Greed has been represented symbolically throughout the story. Native Americans, for instance, suffered greatly from the land owners and colonialists as a result of greed. The devil uses trees for firewood to symbolize his collection of men’s souls to hell. Hell and the devil have also been symbolically portrayed in the story. For instance the devil has been described as black, dark, riding on a black hoarse and dirty-looking. Such descriptions have been symbolically used to illustrate the darkness of hell, sin, and evil (Sobel 257). Generally, this story portrays the negative effects of the devil and the evil ways that men choose to follow for greed.
From such an analysis of symbolism in The Devil and Tom Walker and Young Goodman Brown, it is arguable that symbolism is better portrayed in Young Goodman Brown. This is because everything in the story has been used symbolically to advance the theme of religion. The stories are similar in the authors’ use of symbolism in that they both focus on evil and sin. The devil is presented as evil and misleading. These stories however differ in that in Young Goodman Brown, Faith has been presented as the remedy for evil, while in The Devil And Tom Walker, no remedy has been provided. Both authors incorporate symbolism by use of descriptive words such as tangled ways, poor visibility, and darkness in Goodman Brown and black dark, and dirty-looking in The Devil and Tom Walker. The authors’ styles are similar in that both incorporate vivid description of events and characters to come up with the meaning.
Work cited
Bloom Harold. Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York: Infobase Publishing. 2001. 34-45. Print.
Buchanam, Henry. Terror! Terror! and Tom Walker Two. Senium: AuthorHouse. 2005. 67-70. Print.
Dobie Ann. Theory Into Practice: An Introduction to Literary Criticism. New York: Cengage Learning. 2011. 60-61. Print.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Young Goodman Brown. New York: Wildside Press LLC. 2001. 12-15. Print.
Mandell, Stephen and Kirszner Laurie. Fiction: Reading, Reacting, Writing. New York: Princeton University Press. 1994. 264-265. Print.
Sobel Mechal. Teach Me Dreams: The Search for Self in the Revolutionary Era. New York: Princeton University Press. 2002. 257-259. Print.
Ullen Magnus. The Half-Vanished Structure: Hawthornes Allegorical Dialectics. New York: Peter Lang. 2004. 371-373. Print. Read More
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