Characterization In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2898 words - 12 pages


    This essay will demonstrate the types of characters present in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” whether static or dynamic, whether flat or round, and whether protrayed through showing or telling.

 

R. W. B. Lewis in “The Return into Rime: Hawthorne” states: “… there is always more to the world in which Hawthorne’s characters move than any one of them can see at a glance” (77). This is especially true with such flat or two-dimensional characters as are generally found in “Young Goodman Brown.” These type characters are built on a “single idea or quality” and are presented without much “individualizing detail” (Abrams 33). Faith, of course, represents or symbolizes the theological virtue of faith; Goody Cloyse, as a catechism teacher, represents “goodness”; the unnamed fellow-traveller in the woods is symbolic of “evil.” Q. D. Leavis explains this symbolic use of characters: “The first batch of works I specified [including ‘Young Goodman Brown’] is essentially dramatic, its use of language is poetic, and it is symbolic, and richly so, as is the dramatic poet’s. . . Where the “symbol” is the thing itself, with no separable paraphrasable meaning as in an allegory: the language is directly evocative (27).

 

The flat character Faith is not developed like her husband; her dialogue is restricted to the opening few paragraphs. She speaks only four sentences in the entire story:

 

"Dearest heart," whispered she, softly and rather sadly, when her lips were close to his ear, "pr'ythee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed tonight. A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts, that she's

afeard of herself, sometimes. Pray, tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year!"

 

. . . "Then God bless you!" said Faith, with the pink ribbons, "and may you find all well, when you come back."

 

There is enough description and dialogue regarding Faith to establish that she is a loving, devoted wife both at the beginning and end of the tale, and that she has a cheerful outlook on life (pink ribbons on her cap). Further development of Faith through the story is inferential and slight except for her presence at the coven as a new convert; her presence there as a new convert indicates a change in attitude on her part, making her a dynamic rather than a static character. Whether she converted to satanism or chose to follow the lead of her husband ("’Faith! Faith!’ cried the husband. ‘Look up to Heaven, and resist the Wicked One!’") is not known (“Whether Faith obeyed, he knew not.”).

 

Goody Cloyse is a flat character like Faith. She and Faith are the only women presented in “Young Goodman Brown” by more than a passing mention. Regarding the origin of Hawthorne’s female characters, let it be said that he sometimes uses historical women: “Since three Salem women mentioned in the story, of whom two were hanged, were accused in 1692, the scene...

Find Another Essay On Characterization in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

Sin in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2509 words - 10 pages ).   While changes to the Catechism would have occurred from the 17th to Hawthorne's own 19th century, the idea that his father's family had wished a proper Puritan education for Hawthorne is an important issue.  To accept as a child that you have in no way sinned but are completely sinful by nature is but one way in which "Young Goodman Brown" speaks out against Puritanism.  As Young Goodman Brown witnesses the exchange between the “devil” and Goody

Faith in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1113 words - 4 pages Missing Works Cited Nathaniel Hawthorne’s allegorical story “Young Goodman Brown” is set in Salem, Massachusetts during the late sixteen hundreds in a time of religious hysteria and only a few generations after the infamous witch trials. Although "Young Goodman Brown" is a fictional tale, it is based on the cynical environment of Salem during this time period. The short story is filled with many literary elements, leading you to question what

Ambiguity in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1847 words - 7 pages Ambiguity in “Young Goodman Brown”             There is no end to the ambiguity in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”; this essay hopes to explore this problem.   Peter Conn in “Finding a Voice in an New Nation” makes a statement regarding Hawthorne’s ambiguity:    Almost all of Hawthorne’s finest stories are remote in time or place. The glare of contemporary reality immobillized his imagination. He required

Ambiguity in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1727 words - 7 pages Ambiguity in “Young Goodman Brown”               Peter Conn in “Finding a Voice in an New Nation” makes a statement regarding Hawthorne’s ambiguity:  “Almost all of Hawthorne’s finest stories are remote in time or place. The glare of contemporary reality immobillized his imagination. He required shadows and half-light, and he sought a nervous equilibrium in ambiguity” (82). There is considerable ambiguity in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young

Literary Motifs in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1849 words - 7 pages Literary Motifs in “Young Goodman Brown”           A literary motif “is a conspicuous element, such as a type of incident, device, reference, or formula, which occurs frequently in works of literature” (Abrams 169). Incredibly, this one tale, “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, contains an array of familiar literary motifs (Axelrod 337).   First of all, the tale involves the common motif of a journey in quest of

The Ambiguity in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1655 words - 7 pages The Ambiguity in “Young Goodman Brown”        The literary critics agree that there is considerable ambiguity in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown.” This essay intends to illustrate the previous statement and to analyze the cause of this ambiguity.   Henry James in Hawthorne, when discussing “Young Goodman Brown” comments on how imaginative it is, then mentions how allegorical Hawthorne is, and how allegory should be

Theme in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

1775 words - 7 pages Theme in “Young Goodman Brown”               The theme is the “general concept or doctrine, whether implicit or asserted, which an imaginative work is designed to incorporate and make persuasive to the reader” (Abrams 170). The theme in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is explained in this essay, but it is not as obvious or apparent as the theme is in many literary works.   The reader begins to receive an inkling or

Symbolism in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2494 words - 10 pages Symbolism in Young Goodman Brown                 Edmund Fuller and B. Jo Kinnick in “Stories Derived from New England Living” state: “Hawthorne’s unique gift was for the creation of strongly symbolic stories which touch the deepest roots of man’s moral nature” (31). It is the purpose of this essay to explore the main symbolism contained within Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale, “Young Goodman Brown.”   Stanley T. Williams in “Hawthorne’s

Irony in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2710 words - 11 pages Irony in “Young Goodman Brown”         Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale “Young Goodman Brown” is replete, is saturated, with irony. This essay will amply illustrate the validity of this statement. At the outset of the story a young Puritan husband departs at sunset from his young Puritan wife, “And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap, while she

Deep Allegory in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2396 words - 10 pages Deep Allegory in Young Goodman Brown        Herman Melville in “Hawthorne and His Mosses” (The Literary World August 17, 24, 1850), comments on the deep allegory found within Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale, “Young Goodman Brown.” "Young Goodman Brown"? You would of course suppose that it was a simple little tale, intended as a supplement to "Goody Two Shoes." Whereas, it is deep as Dante; nor can you finish it, without addressing the

The Themes in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

3322 words - 13 pages The Themes in “Young Goodman Brown”              In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” the reader finds several themes. These will be discussed in this essay.   Morse Peckham in “The Development of Hawthorne’s Romanticism” explains what he interprets Hawthorne’s main theme to be:   Once the self has been redeemed from society it can be explored in its own terms, and for this purpose Hawthorne developed his

Similar Essays

Characterization In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

2858 words - 11 pages Characterization in “Young Goodman Brown”          The dialogue, action and motivation revolve about the characters in the story (Abrams 32-33). It is the purpose of this essay to demonstrate the types of characters present in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” whether static or dynamic, whether flat or round, and whether protrayed through showing or telling.   There are only three well-developed, or three

Symbolism,Characterization, And Faith In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

937 words - 4 pages Symbolism,Characterization, and Faith in  Young Goodman Brown      Faith is believing what you can’t see or touch. Faith is knowing something especially when there is no proof to back it up. “Young Goodman Brown” is a story about a man who leaves his wife, Faith, home alone for a night while he journeys with the devil down the road of temptation. During the course of his journey, the man sees many people who seem out of place, including

Symbolism In Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

685 words - 3 pages Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" is full of symbolism throughout the story. Perhaps the most interesting examples of symbolism include the title character, Young Goodman Brown, as well as his wife, Faith, and the woods that Young Goodman Brown enters on his journey. Included are many allusions to Christianity and also to evil and sin. These references are expressed mainly

Blind Faith In Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

939 words - 4 pages Young Goodman Brown:  Blind Faith Is it possible for a man to be SO hypnotized by faith that he is incapable of apprehending the truth that surrounds him? Yes. The principle of faith centers heavily around the confident belief of an idea set by a person or community. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," the faith of an individual conflicts with the faith of the community. The story takes place during the period where all devoted