In every story, the setting plays a mayor role in how to interpret, understand, and make sense of the whole content. It represents the structure that lead to the continuing process of the scenario. In Young Goodman Brown, Hawthorne uses the forest, the time of the day and, the path Goodman follows to symbolize the struggle between God and the devil. .
Hawthorne chooses the forest for its insanity and it's lawless. Oppose to the environment of the city where reason, law and other values are fallowed, the forest indicates the need to escape from the society's judgment eye. Goodman Brown knows as a minister, should be in the town one of the first to follow the rules and give the good example. In the forest, only the "unseen multitude" will see him meeting with the devil (141). "He had taken dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind" the narrator precise (141).
The time of the day is another aspect that contributes to the overall meaning of the story. A place "darkened by all the gloomiest trees," unknown territory, is the characteristics of the forest that represents evil and sinfulness (141). The main character of the story prefers the surroundings of the night where the evil can only be sought after while enveloped in the darkness of the night. At night, everything around looks blurry, there is no good perception, the world is senseless, and everything is in total disorder. Young Goodman Brown avoids the light of the day, where everyone can make sense of the wrong things is going thru. During the day, the light symbolizes the order where God can be sought.
One other thing that cooperates to the setting of the story is the "path" follows by Young Goodman Brown. As a minister, he was journeying along the God path which will eventually direct him to heaven.