April 17, 2000
Symbolism and the Unconscious in “Young Goodman Brown”
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work is typically fraught with symbolism, much of it deriving from his puritan ancestry. Not surprisingly, Hawthorne was obsessed with the themes of sin and guilt. John Roth notes that “A number of recurring thematic patterns and character types appear in Hawthorne’s novels and tales” (Roth 76). Because he is speaking of what we would later come to call
showed first 75 words of 1147 total
showed last 75 words of 1147 total
changed man, but because he was unprepared to accept the visions he would receive there with tolerance and grace, he has been changed for the worst. Goodman Brown was supposed to learn that everyone is human, and should be treated with compassion. Instead he learned that everyone is a sinner, and forever treats people with abhorrence. Enlightenment can impart great wisdom, but only those minds, which are open to receiving it. Goodman Brown was not.