All you need is Faith An obsession with the Puritan religion is what Nathaniel Hawthorne battled with his entire life. Or more accurately, he was obsessed with counter arguing the Puritan's belief that they were without imperfection by creating characters that defied this pompous attitude. "Young Goodman Brown" tells the story of Hawthorne's Puritan everyman. Brown has a naive belief that faith, both his wife Faith, and his commitment to religion, will provide for him, but ironically it is faith, that betrays him.
At the story's onset Young goodman Brown bids farewell to his young wife. The facet of Brown's life that she represents is illustrated by her name "Faith," and in Hawthorne's visual description, "...thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap..." (pg. 75). The image of this woman's "pretty head" being "thrust" out into the street after goodman Brown, as the wind, an unforgiving element of nature, fondles her pink ribbons, sets up the dynamic relationship between nature and the home symbolically.
Nature, specifically the wind, the forest, and the darkness symbolize evil and sinfulness. As Brown enters the woods he comments on the gloominess, loneliness, and mystery of the forest (pg. 75). The home, namely Faith and her ribbons, symbolizes the perceived safety and certainty of the Puritan community. Brown intends on "making more haste on his present evil purpose" (pg. 75) so he can return quickly to the village. The community is seen as a safe haven from the sin of the rest of the world.
Not only does Faith represent security but also the innocence and the purity of strength in religion. Brown refers to her as "a blessed angel on earth" (pg. 75) and plans "to cling to...