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In “Young Goodman Brown,” Hawthorne uses the symbols of Goodman Brown, the people he meets in the forest, and the drop of dew that falls upon his cheek to develop the theme of hypocrisy.

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Alex Johnson Buchanan LA 398 13 December 2001 Thesis statement: In "Young Goodman Brown," Hawthorne uses the symbols of Goodman Brown, the people he meets in the forest, and the drop of dew that falls upon his cheek to develop the theme of hypocrisy. One symbol that helps develop the theme of hypocrisy in Puritan society is the symbol of Goodman Brown. His first name is Goodman, which refers that Brown is a good person. However, his last name is Brown. Brown symbolizes "dead leaves, autumn, and melancholy," which has negative connotations (Chevalier 127). Therefore, Goodman Brown is internally evil. In the beginning of "Young Goodman Brown", Goodman Brown leaves his wife, Faith, who represents Goodman Brown's religious faith and moral beliefs. Instead of remaining with her, Brown embarks "on his evil purpose [onto] a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest" (Hawthorne 1). Goodman Brown is hypocritical of himself by deserting his faith and journeying on a path of evil. On his journey, Brown encounters the Devil. As they walk together, Goodman Brown boasts about his relatives and their righteousness. ...read more.


As the church sings its holy psalms, Brown "could not listen because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear and browned all the blessed strain" (Hawthorne 6). Brown is unable to hear the holy psalms because evil is inept to hear goodness. Brown attends church for his outward appearance, yet is hypocritical of himself because he is unable to learn anything due to his evil. Goodman Brown represents the ordinary Christian with internal evil in "Young Goodman Brown". Another symbol of the hypocrisy within Puritan culture is the people, which Goodman Brown encounters on his evil quest. He meets various people, who are innocent people in society, but display evil when Brown faces them on his journey. After meeting the Devil, Goodman Brown and the Devil approach Goody Cloyse, who teaches Brown his catechism as a child. By teaching catechism, Goody Cloyse appears to be a good, religious, woman to society. However, she prays to the Devil in the forest, the place of evil. ...read more.


The fire symbolizes the "rites of passage" (Chevalier 380). Therefore, the branch on fire where the dew came from represents the logic and rebirth into the passage into good. The dew symbolizes the "cleansing and centre of regeneration" (Chevalier 1081). The drop of dew is similar to the drop of holy water on the head in Baptism. In a Baptism, the water purifies the person. However, the drop of water falls upon Goodman Brown's cheek instead of hi head. The drop of dew changes Goodman Brown, but is unable to purify him into righteousness. Goodman Brown believes that he changes, however, he remains the same hypocritical Goodman Brown. In town the next morning, Goodman Brown sees himself as a better person because he resists the Devil's temptations. However, the dew passes him into evil, instead of purification. Goodman Brown is unable to appreciate church the following morning. During prayer, "he scowled and muttered to himself," showing little respect to his faith (Hawthorne 6). By being disrespectful in church, Goodman Brown displays his evil. The drop of dew of Goodman Brown's cheek displays the theme of hypocrisy because Goodman Brown's evil remains. ...read more.

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