Literary Devices in Young Goodman Brown
Narration and Dreamlike Structure: Dreams and dream logic play an important role in Hawthorne’s story. Even though the narrator stays close to Goodman Brown’s perspective, much of the narrative is shrouded in mystery. At the beginning, just as Goodman Brown prepares to head into the woods, Faith warns her husband that she has had a dream warning of troubling events to come. At the end of the story, as Goodman Brown emerges from his trials in the forest and returns to his life in Salem, he wonders whether his adventure was all a dream. Despite the turmoil he has experienced and the visions he has seen, there is no tangible evidence that any of it really happened. The dreamlike nature of his journey haunts him for the rest of his life.
The Use of Aptonyms: Hawthorne makes use of a literary device known as the aptonym, sometimes called the aptronym or euonym. An aptonym is a name that is particularly appropriate for the character or person to whom it belongs. Classic literary aptonyms include Shakespeare’s Harry Hotspur, James Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus, and Washington Irving’s Ichabod Crane. Hawthorne refers to his protagonist by the title “Goodman.” While such titles as “Goodman” and “Goodwife” were the Puritan forms of “Mr.” and “Mrs.,” in this story the name underscores the moral crisis Brown faces as well as the hypocrisy of other so-called pious, “good” townspeople, like Goody Cloyse and and Goody Cory. Faith’s name is a double entendre because while she represents Goodman Brown’s connection to his Puritan faith in God, she also demonstrates the corruption of his faith when she is seen participating in the Black Mass.
Literary Devices Examples in Young Goodman Brown:
Young Goodman Brown🔒
"The road grew wilder and drearier and more faintly traced, and vanished at length, leaving him in the heart of the dark wilderness..." See in text (Young Goodman Brown)
"“My Faith is gone!” cried he, after one stupefied moment...." See in text (Young Goodman Brown)
"“Faith kept me back a while,” replied the young man..." See in text (Young Goodman Brown)
"“You are late, Goodman Brown,” said he. “The clock of the Old South was striking as I came through Boston, and that is full fifteen minutes agone.”..." See in text (Young Goodman Brown)
"as if a dream had warned her what work is to be done tonight. ..." See in text (Young Goodman Brown)
"why I should quit my dear Faith and go after her..." See in text (Young Goodman Brown)
"This, of course, must have been an ocular deception..." See in text (Young Goodman Brown)