Is Young Goodman Brown an allegory or just symbolic?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Young Goodman Brown is more allegorical than it is just symbolic. An allegory is a story that represents an ideology or part of the human condition that readers can relate to and apply to their own lives. So, in a way, it could be considered a parable-type story; however, it is filled with many symbols that help to convey the message being sent by the author as he describes the Puritan society in which Brown finds himself. It would seem that the point of the story is to satirize the society for believing in God, but not believing in mercy or forgiveness, too because Brown strays from Faith (Wife and symbol of commitment to religion) out of curiosity that many do. Sadly, he does not invoke the teachings of mercy and forgiveness because he dies a bitter man because of the experience.  The deep, dark secrets that he discovers on that fateful night not only awaken his mind to the realities of "evil" but that no one can escape the temptations of the devil. This is clearly a satirical allegory written in a Christian country to a Christian audience.