Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown,” is an allegory rich in sexual repression. By psychoanalyzing the primary character, one can discover that “Goodman Brown” is not merely a battle between great and wicked, but likewise among a more sexual nature.
The short story begins with an image of Brown’s partner Faith, and “the pink ribbons of her cap” (Hawthorne 67). Throughout the story, the image of the pink ribbons is raised numerous times, suggesting that they are more than just a pretty thing to connect one’s hair with. Plainly there is more to the ribbons than that. The truth that they are pink programs the femininity of the lady. The fact that they bind, or secure, Faith’s hair represents Brown’s inability to leave his fixed function of a Puritan hubby. The ribbons continuously advise him of his ‘faith.’ Consciously, or subconsciously, it is the ribbons of the female that decline to launch him.
Goodman Brown’s “quite young other half” Faith, whose “hair is bound with pink ribbons,” almost begs him to remain at house, threatening that “troubling ideas” would problem her if he were to leave (67 ). Brown, instead, asks Faith to be a “great little woman and say her prayers and go to bed” (68 ). By stating this he has the ability to keep his ‘appointment’ in the forest, therefore enabling him to avoid the conflict and in return keep a handle on his feelings. This is an attempt to put her back into a position that his male ego can accept, without knowingly acknowledging her sexual advances. This habits could likewise signify his aversion to participate in regular sexual encounters because he thought them to be wicked, therefore causing a psychological dispute that he might not deal with.
Goodman Brown’s experience in the forest reveals to him the sexual nature of people. Brown’s observance of this is oddly lacking revulsion. This would suggest that he is rationalizing his own quelched sexuality and thus calming his feelings of regret by forecasting his own deeply quelched id onto the most reputable townspeople. Brown’s own insecurities lead him to see that even Goody Cloys, his catechism teacher, seems to disappear with the aid of Satan’s personnel. The use of a witch image to explain Goody also signifies the wicked side of ladies that his superego refuses to see under regular scenarios.
The man that Brown meets in the forest is inarguably Satan, who almost widely represents the opportunity to fulfill repressed desires and unlock the id. More conversation with the Satan-like figure exposes that he has had a relationship with all of Browns’ ancestors, claiming “they were my buddies … we had numerous a pleasant walk along this path” (69 ). The man is trying to assure Goodman Brown that his sensations are totally typical. The figure of darkness even presumes regarding recall some of the Brown’s forefathers’ more unsavory habits, such as the whipping of a Quake woman through the streets of town. The information that Satan is in contact with everyone that Brown has actually ever respected, up through the guv, recommends that Brown has no ethical idol to imitate. This condition precludes him from continuing to quelch his dark side through hero praise.
The staff of Satan’s “which bore the similarity of an excellent black snake” is another sexual sign (68 ). Goodman Brown dismisses the idea that he can’t take his eyes off of the man’s “exceptional personnel” by telling himself that “it may have been an ocular deceptiveness assisted by unpredictable light” (69 ). The shadowy figure encourages Brown’s thoughts of unpredictability by stating “you will think much better of this by and by … take my staff to assist you along.” When Goodman Brown does ultimately use the personnel it is “wet with night dew”( 71 ). This is yet another sexual image. The personnel that is referred to as being “twisted” and just like “a living snake” is similar to that of the image of the snake that motivates Adam and Eve to provide into temptation in the Garden of Eden (68 ). The personnel of the devil is thus tempting Brown to see his own sexuality in a new light, one which he can not totally comprehend.
After Goodman Brown approaches the “black mass” which can be seen as a secret which he has yet to clarify, he confronts an image that he views as his mother, who advises him to turn away from the temptation (72 ). This externalization of his mom as the voice of excellent, or his conscience, displays evidence of his unsettled Oedipus complex. The simple reality that he sees his mom while participating in a sexual encounter reveals his subconscious desire for her.
The revelation of his better half Faiths’ subscription in this dark neighborhood comes as the best shock. Brown exclaims, “I have actually lost my Faith” (73 ). He has actually lost his religious faith, he has actually lost his better half to the forces of evil, and he is now required to reevaluate his personal ideal of females in basic. The fact that Hawthorne yet again mentions the pink ribbons recommends that the 3rd interpretation has the most credibility. The ribbons are now gone and are no longer viewed as binding him to Faith.
The story concludes by showing the engraving on his tombstone “for his dying hour was gloom,” suggesting that he was not a pleased male throughout his life (77 ). This was due to the fact that he was never totally able to attain a grasp on his own sexuality, or on sexuality period. The observation could be made that guilt from giving in to his desire and from being forced to face unsolved Oedipal and other sexual concerns had made him dissatisfied his whole life.