Young Goodman Brown Questions and Answers
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Young Goodman Brown Allegory

What are the allegorical elements present in "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne?

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An allegory is a work of fiction in which the symbols, characters, and events come to represent some aspect of its culture. In American literature, allegories have often been used for instructive purposes around Christian themes.  The story has a figurative meaning beneath the literal one: a story with two meanings.  In American literature, the best example of an allegory is “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Written in 1835, the story centers on the loss of innocence.

The story takes place in Salem during the witch crisis and religious disagreements.  The allegory includes Christianity, Satan, and the devil. From the names of the characters to the pink ribbons in Faith’s hair, this is a religious allegory.  The story centers on the journey of Goodman Brown into the woods to meet Satan.  He is an innocent, yet he has made this appointment with the devil for some reason.

The trip itself and the scenes that Goodman Brown encounter are vague and uncertain. Brown leaves his...

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