For the colonists and Puritans, the American wood was a topographic point of darkness and unknown, inhabited by toxicant flora, unfamiliar animals, and potentially hostile Native American groups. The wood was the centre of the natural forces that controlled Puritan life and most surely Puritan decease, uncontainable and unpredictable. What was possibly most terrorizing about the wood, nevertheless, was that it represented a pre-Christian universe, nothingness of recognized morality. Any Puritan who strayed there might happen himself besides in a pre-Christian province, beyond decency, and possibly even beyond the range of the manus of God. Writing within the model of Puritan apprehension of the civilised versus the barbarian universe, the American wood is the intimidating scene of Nathaniel Hawthorne ‘s “ Young Goodman Brown, ” and an ideal location for Goodman Brown ‘s brush with the Satan. Within the work, the forest serves as a symbol with multiple significances, relaying a comprehensiveness of coincident significances for the work as a whole. In Nathanial Hawthorne ‘s “ Young Goodman Brown, ” the forest serves as a symbol for both the dream-state and sexual desire. Within each of these contexts, the forest contributes to an apprehension of unacceptable human behaviour and desire as happening in private and secret infinite, instead than public infinite.
The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary footings defines a symbol as “ something that, although it is of involvement in its ain right, stands for or suggests something larger and more complex-often an thought or a scope of interconnected thoughts, attitudes, and patterns ” ( Murfin 504 ) . But symbols have greater scope than deductions within literature and formalized unfavorable judgment. The psychological theories of Sigmund Freud suggest that symbols are the linguistic communication of the unconscious head, through which the Idaho expresses unacceptable desires in dreams ( Emig 176 ) . The forest in “ Young Goodman Brown ” is a symbol for the unconscious dreaming head, or the infinite where the Idaho reigns. The most obvious grounds that suggests that the wood symbolizes the dreaming head is that Goodman Brown ‘s journey into the forests takes topographic point at dark when he should be woolgathering, or as Goodman Brown provinces when he sets out at twilight, “ ‘twixt now and sunrise ” ( Hawthorne 12 ) . Hawthorne even echoes the impression that Goodman Brown may be woolgathering in the actual sense at the decision of the piece with the inquiry, “ Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the wood and merely dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting? ” ( Hawthorne 30 ) . Whether Hawthorne intended for the reader to reason that Goodman Brown was literally woolgathering is inconsequential, as his jaunt in the forest maps absolutely as a Freudian dream. Goodman Brown ‘s journey into the forest even includes Freud ‘s cardinal elements of dreams, condensation and supplanting ( Emig 176 ) . Condensation begins with Goodman Brown ‘s meeting of the dark alien, who remarks on Goodman Brown ‘s lateness, stating, “ The clock of the Old South was striking as I came through Boston, and that is full 15 proceedingss ago ” ( Hawthorne 13 ) . Time for the alien is accelerated, as he is able to go the 25 or so stat mis from Boston to Salem in 15 proceedingss. Condensation continues when Goodman Brown carries a staff that mirrors the 1 that the alien possesses. After recognizing that Faith has been captured or perchance killed by his demonic consort, he “ hold on his staff and set Forth once more, at such a rate that he seemed to wing along the forest way instead than to walk or run ” ( Hawthorne 23 ) . Displacement besides occurs through the visual aspect of members of the diabolic coven, who are all individuals antecedently familiar to Goodman Brown. The visual aspect of Goody Cloyse ( Hawthorne 18 ) , for illustration, allows Goodman Brown to see her autumn from grace, instead than the status of his ain psyche or his ain religious lip service, as displayed by his willingness to follow the alien in the wood. Sing the religious provinces of others allows Goodman Brown to contemplate his ain religion, without the serious internal deductions of sing his ain autumn, which would be unacceptable for his Puritan mind. The visual aspect of Goody Cloyse, who had catechized Goodman Brown ( Hawthorne 18 ) , and other people from his yesteryear besides allows the supplanting of events and brushs that have occurred throughout his life. Mirroring the dream-state, events and brushs in the wood are irrational and follow no logical order. Finally, the forest provides the dream-state environment where Goodman Brown ‘s unconscious head can show and treat unacceptable desire, such as the desire to arise against his Puritan manner of life in exchange for the power and exhilaration of witchery. When going through the wood in hunt of the diabolic emanation and Faith, Goodman Brown flies “ flourishing his staff with manic gestures, now giving blowhole to an inspiration of horrid blasphemy ” ( Hawthorne 23 ) . While Goodman Brown could non contemplate rebellion against his religion in the populace domain of Salem, in the wood he is able to openly inquiry his religion and even curse without fright of reverberation.
In Hawthorne ‘s piece, the wood is besides a symbol of sexual desire. Goodman Brown has been married merely three months ( Hawthorne 12 ) and, sing his Puritan religion, was likely sexually inexperienced. Despite the desire that Goodman Brown should hold been experiencing about his married woman, who is described as “ pretty ” ( Hawthorne 12 ) and “ a blest angel on Earth, ” there is grounds that Goodman Brown is rather sexually repressed. At the decision of the piece, Faith is so overjoyed to see her hubby that she “ about kissed her hubby before the whole small town ” ( Hawthorne 30 ) . In the Puritan civilization, such an act would hold been unconceivable. As a merchandise of his socialisation, Goodman Brown is besides extremely concerned with sexual misbehaviors. The alien in the forest speaks of “ how senior of the church have whispered wanton words to the immature amahs of their families ” and “ just damselsaˆ¦have dug small Gravess in the garden ” ( Hawthorne 27-28 ) . These Acts of the Apostless were shocking to Goodman Brown, but were intriguing plenty to justify his journey into the wood. The contrast between Goodman Brown ‘s Puritan attitudes towards sex and his presence in the iniquitous wood mean his assorted feelings sing his ain gender. The accent on the presence of female characters and their degree of sexual adulthood is besides important. Present in the wood are Goody Cloyse, the adult female who catechized him, along with a emanation of other adult females, described as “ high dolls, ” “ married womans of esteemed hubbies, ” “ widows, ” “ ancient maidens, all of first-class reputation, ” and “ just immature misss, who trembled lest their female parents should descry them ” ( Hawthorne 25 ) . Any reference of male figures at the meeting is much less noteworthy. The most of import female presence at the assemblage, nevertheless, is Faith, with her pink threads, mistily implicative of both gender and artlessness. In relation to the wood as symbol of sexual desire, Faith ‘s presence there is paramount. Goodman Brown ‘s uncertainness about his gender is specifically confusion about his sexual relationship with his married woman. She is a personification of child-like artlessness with pink threads in her hair and “ a blest angel on Earth. ” In the ruddy visible radiation of the wood ( Hawthorne 24 ) , connoting sexual passion, he is torn between his desire for his married woman and the possibility of sexually dirtying her.
In concurrence with sexual desire, the wood can besides be used as the typical nature-symbol, stand foring the natural order of the universe. While spiritual jurisprudence sing human gender is semisynthetic, sexual desire can be seen as a natural happening. When Goodman Brown refuses to give in to his ain passion in the wood, he is taking contrived repression over natural order. It is this refusal that leads to his undoing ; his life is bare and “ his deceasing hr was somberness ” ( Hawthorne 31 ) as a consequence of the rigorous sexual codification he imposes on himself. His repression besides leads to a misgiving and backdown from his married woman. When Goodman Brown calls, “ Religion! … [ L ] ook up to heaven, and defy the wicked 1 ” ( Hawthorne 29 ) , he is really inquiring her to deny her gender. Although the assemblage disappears before his intuitions can be confirmed, he suspects her of unfaithfulness and abandon, and so “ shrank from the bosom of Faith ” ( Hawthorne 30-31 ) . The same fright of female gender is present when Goodman Brown returns to the town the following forenoon and brushs Goody Cloyse catechising a immature girl-he “ snatched off the kid as from the appreciation of the monster himself ” ( Hawthorne 30 ) . Although the adult female is learning the miss morality and Puritan jurisprudence, as a presence of the wood, she could originate the miss into sexual consciousness. Goodman Brown ‘s reaction is dry, as he both removes the miss from spiritual direction and perchance sexual consciousness, coercing her to follow in the footfalls of his future devastation as a consequence of denying natural order.
In Nathanial Hawthorne ‘s “ Young Goodman Brown, ” the wood is a symbol that profusion and expansive significance to the work. The double significances of the wood as dream-state and sexual desire work in concurrence with one another, proposing that the wood is a kingdom where the unconscious head of Goodman Brown can treat unacceptable desire, and that those desires are chiefly sexual in nature. Goodman Brown ‘s journey into the wood is in all consequence a “ wet dream, ” or unconscious manifestation of desire. Looking at the work through these frames opens up the thematic possibilities of the piece-Hawthorne could be offering unfavorable judgment of the Puritan church, sexual repression, or Puritanical positions of female gender. As a figure of speech in traditional narrative, the wood implies a personal journey that consequences in an internal alteration of the supporter. Goodman Brown does ship on a personal journey in the wood, meeting his desire, and finally taking repression. Hawthorne ‘s forest, nevertheless, besides serves the map of a infinite within the unconscious or ego. There the supporter can show a yearning for the unacceptable in the privacy of the forest, apart from the influence of Salem and his Puritan God.