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Word Count: 549
In Young Goodman Brown Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism and irony to illustrate the theme of man oblivious that sin is an inescapable part of human nature attempting to escape from sin The idea that mankind is perfectible or perhaps that good Puritans are without imperfection seems to dominate the worldview of Hawthornes Puritan everyman Young Goodman Brown His naive ideas are contrasted against the vision of profound betrayal in the forest to create a stark illustration of one possible truth At the storys outset Young Goodman Brown bids farewell to his young wife The facet of Browns life which she represents is illustrated by her name Faith and in Hawthornes visual description thrust her own pretty head into the street letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap The very image of this womans pretty head being thrust out into the world after Goodman Brown as the wind an unforgiving element of profane nature fondles her pink ribbons sets up the dynamic between nature and the home symbolically Nature specifically the wind the forest the darkness of evening symbolizes evil and sinfulness The home namely Faith and her ribbons symbolizes the perceived safety and surety of the Puritan community as a refuge from the sin of the rest of the world There is certainly irony in the fact that it is the most pious church people who appear at the evil gathering in the forest Brown recognizes the old woman who passes Young Goodman Brown and the devil on the path when he exclaims That old woman taught me my catechism She and the deacon and minister who later pass are the very bastions of goodness on Earth to Young Goodman Brown and hearing the two men discuss the evenings meeting overwhelms Brown Young Goodman Brown caught hold of a tree for support being ready to sink down on the ground faint and overburdened with the heavy sickness of his
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