In the story "Young Goodman Brown", what do the pink ribbons symbolize?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I see the pink ribbons symbolizing the ambivalence that Goodman Brown is experiencing in continuing his journey further into the woods.  The color pink is created when you mix white (purity, innocence) with red (evil, devil).  Therefore, the pink ribbons floating down from the sky when Goodman Brown is troubled about what he is experiencing on his journey symbolizes his torment that he is experiencing in trying to resist evil. The two colors mixing together symbolizes the "mixing" if you will of the fight within Goodman Brown between thoughts of good and evil.

The pink ribbons also symbolize that good and evil are mixed and inherent in every human being as Goodman Brown realizes when his journey takes him to the Devil's altar at the end of the story.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Pink is a color generally associated with innocence.  In YGB, it symbolizes the innocence of Faith who wears it at the beginning of the story as well as Brown's own innocent and immature view of his fellow townspeople.  During Brown's real or imagined trip into the woods, when he is at the Black Sabbath, Faith's pink ribbon floats to the ground, and Brown remarks that he has lost his Faith.  Of course, the are two Faiths involved here:  Brown has lost his innocent wife, and he has also lost is faith (religious and in mankind).

You know the sorry outcome of his disillusionment.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial