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Free Essays – Use of Imagery in Young Goodman Brown

Use of Imagery in Young Goodman Brown

According to A Handbook of Critical Approaches, the Formalistic Approach is one “with a methodology.” The Formalistic Approach requires a critic to examine the structure, or form, of a literary work. For example, studying the imagery of a literary

work can make the theme more apparent. “Images emerge as more and more important…certain images, or colors…keep coming up…. Bit by formal bit, we think we begin to see a theme emerging from the work.” (Guerin, 74-75). Young Goodman Brown is the story of an innocent young man who realizes the imperfections and flaws of the world and its people,

including himself. This knowledge is very painful and shocking to Young Goodman Brown just as knowledge was painful for

the prisoners in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The imagery used in Young Goodman Brown amplifies the theme of the loss of

innocence. Images of the sunset and of a journey and several others appear throughout the story to amplify the theme of Young Goodman Brown.

For example, in the beginning of the story, Young Goodman Brown is leaving his wife Faith at sunset to go on a journey that cannot wait. The images of a sunset and of the approaching nighttime illustrate the fear of the unknown. Goodman Brown must travel through the darkness before he reaches the light of knowledge just as the prisoners in Allegory of the Cave must travel from the dark cave in order to reach the light. As the story continues, Hawthorne uses the image of a “dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest” to heighten the fear of the unknown. Goodman Brown has left the comfort of the cave of confusion and is beginning to discover the imperfections of the world and of its people.

A teacher, who had “an indescribable air of one who knew the world”, leads Goodman Brown from the cave. His teacher continually leads him along the path to enlightenment despite Goodman Brown’s attempts “to return whence I came.” Goodman Brown learns that people are not perfect and that “good” people sometimes do “bad” things. People who Goodman Brown views as perfect, like the governor and his Sunday school teacher are exposed as imperfect people who lie and cheat and steal by using the images of a stolen broom and a promise to be queen of Hell.

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – Comparing the Miller’s Tale and the Reeve’s Tale

Comparing the Miller’s Tale and the Reeve’s Tale

In the conclusion between the Miller’s Tale and the Reeve’s Tale, the Reeve’s Tale is far more insulting and malicious and convincingly closer to the true definition of quiting, then the Miller’s Tale. The Reeve’s Tale defines what trickery and evildoing and cuckolding is. The Miller’s Tale is more of a tale dealing with a form of black ‘humor and slapstick comedy, rather than a succession of put-downs which occurred in the Reeve’s Tale.

In the Miller’s Tale, we see many insults directed towards bow ignorant the man was in choosing the right wife for marriage. He picks out an eighteen year old bombshell, named Allison and John, the carpenter, who marries her says:

This carpenter had married a new wife Not long before, and loved her more than life. She was a girl of eighteen years of age. Jealous he was and kept her in the cage, For he was old and she was wild and young; He thought himself quite likely to be stung. Not only are their ages apart, but they share no similarities in their lifestyles, pointing to the fact that he is a dimwitted fool.
(MiLT 89)

The other quiting of the Reeve in the Miller’s Tale is when, once again, the carpenter is portrayed as a dullard by being totally oblivious to the situation; Allison, his wife, and a man named Nicholas, a man known locally for making love in secret, (which was his talent), are trying to have sexual laissons behind John’s back. (MiLT 91). They get John to believe that a great flood, worse than Noah’s is coming, and will destroy all of them. This fool by believeing this tale and following them with the preparations protects himself, even though no flood of any sort arises. This is the ultimat act of stupidity! The Reeve’s Tale about the Miller is a perfect example of evil and trickery at it’s best. The part being that in the end, the trickster becomes tricked over and over againt but the tables turn and the Miller is the real loser having lost his stolen flour and to add insult to injury, he finds out that his wife and daughter have been cuckolded especially after all the jargon about the following:

In order to have Simpkins his relation, The nuns had given her an education.

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