Hidden Lies 

A student submission on June’s theme of Good versus Evil

Author: Oscar Flores 

In the story of Young Goodman Brown written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, there is a wide  and vast amount of diction that creates symbolism to further dignify its reader in its purpose. There are many styles of writing but in the style of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman  Brown, it is portrayed that symbolism plays a heavy role in its counterpart of Christianity  religion. Religion plays a heavy role in the story of men because of the setting in which young  Goodman Brown is leading. Religion enhances the understanding of Young Goodman Brown  because there are many symbols that lead the reader to believe that faith finds a great majority of  Salem Massachusetts. In a story like this symbolism works as more than just a writing format; It  gives the story and its abstract ideas, people, settings, and action A purpose then its intended  position in the story. I argue Young Goodman Brown’s duality of knowledge and faith enhances  the reader’s perspective on good or evil. 

Being able to understand the symbols in which the author has placed such as a serpent  staff representing the snake and dark forest which Brown walks through can evidently  correspond to the path of dissoluteness. Symbolism is conveyed to shape what the author is trying to  illustrate. Christianity and the theocracy of the puritans are much more different than the 21st century fancied society; the ideal and set companionship were deemed to be always between  husband and wife, man and women which in the story Brown is faced with the obstacle of him  having to leave his wife behind to go forth the trip “A lone women is troubled with such dreams  and such thoughts that she’s afeared of herself sometimes. Pray tarry with me this night, dear  husband of all nights in the year.” For a man to leave his wife alone is considered  impure because of the view of a man and women and a man’s superiority over his wife, readers  can view this as an introduction to Goodman’s behavior of sin and more encounters that lead him  into a hole of his own creation.  

Along the trip, Brown comes into corners with an old man much like himself yet there  are sections of diction that reveal that the old man was a figure of Hellish representation. Now  his interactions from the reading would insist that they were longtime friends yet the way both  converse seems as if they have met before. There are many times that the man attempts him into  

committing sin such as pride and leads the reader to understand how the devil works in a Puritan  culture “Thus the pair proceeded, at a good free pace, until suddenly, in a gloomy hollow of the  road, Goodman Brown sat himself down on the stump of the tree and refused to go any further.  “Friend,” he said stubbornly, “my mind is made up. Not another step will I budge on this errand.  What if a wretched old woman do choose to go to the devil when I thought she was going to  heaven” In this quote, it is evident that sinning happens by accident and or during instinct of emotion. In truth this is a symbol of how Man is easily tempted into anger or non-action. The  author carefully places scenes to reveal the example most people could see as a normal  occurrence but indeed here is Goodman Brown expressing sin of sloth.  

Young Brown was not the only person that was seen making the trip down the forest  which represents the lifestyle of sin or hidden lies. This leads to the next point: some council of  the city and people that were above Young Goodman were seen making their way down the path  and seemed to be going to the same place as Brown, but he did not make himself present when  he was a witness. This can show how many members of most churches have false followers that  show a different “face” when in a church rather than behind closed doors. To understand that  the author may have seemed this section of the story to signify a lack of truth in most  theocracies.  

Not only was the message of false truth written by the author, but the symbol of  knowledge that can hurt the soul played a grand role at the end of the story. The tombstone that was  given to Brown had nothing written. What happened in the scene of the oath and communion had  changed Young Brown forever and had shown how a man can give their soul which represents  knowledge Brown had retained. Money could be shown to be the root of evil and how anyone  could gain the love of the world but in return, he would be lost forever. Religion may or may not  have to play a factor, but this is something Brown may have lost as his knowledge grew farther  than his morals.

Young Goodman Brown severely faces tests and trials to determine if he truly knows what is right from wrong. There are times he is observing people from his town who generally think highly of the town folk, yet it is they who are walking down the same path as Brown. It  shows the duality of his peers as one face of two is whom people are showing which is where  Brown gets to glimpse the “duality of man”. It is only correct that he becomes more enticed with  the idea and process of seeming good and evil in other people such as Goody Cloyse. 

In truth, I argue Young Goodman Brown’s duality of knowledge and faith enhances the reader’s perspective on good or evil.

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