Allegory in Hawthorne and Irving

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Both Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown and Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle are allegorical writings, with a symbolic meaning beyond what we read on the surface. Young Goodman Brown is a moral story in the form of the “hero quest,” which is a search for self, for understanding. After a meeting with the devil, his pride affects his relations with the community, eventually making him an exile in his own community. In “Rip …

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…was being torn apart inside, because his spiritual faith had been shaken. It is no wonder that authors like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Washington Irving have become an integral part of American culture. They have created characters whose stories are still read today, whose stories helped a new country come to terms with this new found freedom from tyranny, and through the use of allegory got their messages across without beating their readers over the heads.