Written as a allegory, Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" employs symbolic names of characters in order to convey a characteristic ambiguity as well as to provide paradox and irony that eventually expose the hypocrisy inherent in Puritanism, a theology that promulgates the innate depravity of man while at the same time exempting the "elect," those born in a state of grace. At the end of the narrative the young, innocent Goodman Brown, who claims at the beginning, "Faith kept me back a while," and gives the devilish old man with the serpent-like staff cause for laughter, loses his faith in mankind (including his wife) and perceives the hypocrisy in the woman named Goodye Close, who is a witch, and Deacon Gookin[contraction of Good kin], who also participates in the black mass in the forest primeval.
In order to make his extended metaphor, or allegory, that is set during the Salem Witchcraft Trials more realistic, Hawthorne utilizes colloquial expressions from the era as well as diction specific to the colonial America of the seventeenth century. For instance, such colloquialisms as "she's a blessed angel on earth" or these words of Brown,
"I marvel not, seeing that [instead of because] the least rumor of the sort would have driven them from New England."
Other colloquialisms are "he had come a staff's length of the old woman" and words such as thou instead of you, and 'twixt and with your leave are used rather than between and with your permission. Certainly, the use of Colonial American language lends a tone of mystery to Hawthorne's tale of Goodman Brown's fall from innocence and disillusionment in the unredemptive nature of his Calvinistic Puritanism.