Consider the significance of the names of the title character and his wife. Explain the potential significance.

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The name, "Young Goodman Brown," is significant for a few reasons.  First, when we see that this character is called "Goodman" instead of, for example, "Mister," we can understand that the setting of this text will be Puritan New England (as so many of Hawthorne's settings are).  Further, the very common surname "Brown" gives us a clue that this character is likely an "every man" character, someone who is meant to stand in for any individual, someone who symbolizes all of humankind and is perhaps meant to make some point about humanity in general (likely a moral point since we are dealing with Hawthorne and the Puritans, his favorite group to lampoon).  Finally, the adjective "Young" lets us know that there must be an "Old Goodman Brown," and this person might be of some importance in the story as well.  (He is, as the Devil chooses to use his shape, the figure of the grandfather of Young Goodman Brown, a man who apparently had a well-established relationship with the Devil.)

Further, the fact that young Goodman Brown's wife's name is "Faith" is a clue that we are dealing with a moral allegory.  As faith is so important to the Puritan religion -- they believed that God's grace (and ONLY God's grace) could save them and that God would test those elect with trials -- we might assume that faith/Faith is going to be a vital part of her husband's trial during this story.

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Young Goodman Brown

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