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            The setting in the story, Young Good Brown, is a key element to this story's theme. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the setting and time in the forest as a method of symbolizing the theme of a symbolic journey into the depths of consciousness. As the hours of the night pass, Goodman Brown travels farther into the forest, and deeper into the depths of consciousness. This theme is present in many passages of the text. The story begins with the line, "Young Goodman Brown came forth at sunset into the streets of Salem village; but put his head back, after crossing the threshold to exchange a parting kiss with his young wife" (Hawthorne 1207). At this point of the story, there is partial daylight and Goodman Brown is consciously aware of his trust in his wife, Faith, and his faith in his religion. He says to his wife, ""of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee, my journey, as thou callest it, forth and back again, must needs be done "twixt now and sunrise"" (Hawthorne 1207). Goodman Brown feels that something inside him needs to go on this journey but he goes "on his journey with a guilty conscience" (Martin 85). There is a reason why he consciously feels like he has to go; he needs to test the perceptions he has of his life. By leaving at sunset, Goodman Brown is going into the darkness. The night allows Goodman Brown to sink deeper into the depths of his conscience, causing his mind to be less alert. In order to clear his conscience, he must take this journey, which can occur only on this very night. The road Goodman Brown takes into the forest is "darkened by all the gloomiest trees in the forest, which barely [stands] aside to let the narrow path creep through, and [close] immediately behind" (Hawthorne 1208). As he travels farther into the forest, and further away from Faith, and his faith, it becomes harder for him to find his way back. The forest, in the story, is a symbol for Goodman Brown's conscience, which includes the roots of all his perceptions.

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