The first time reading Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" is difficult. He uses a great deal of symbolism to create a spiritual allegory. Once researched, however, it is easy to recognize that Hawthorne is simply portraying his own views of his own home village. The town of Salem Village is of Puritan origin. Puritan beliefs are of strict morals, condemning any that do not wish to follow them. Hawthorne's symbols and allegory take this historical setting and create a downfall for Goodman Brown. Three things that are significantly important to produce Nathaniel Hawthorne's allegory in his short story, "Young Goodman Brown," were Goodman Brown's wife, Faith, the path in the forest, and the witch meeting.
Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Edition Collegiate Dictionary defines an allegory as "the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truth or generalizations about human existence" (32). In other words, an allegory is a literary story with a spiritual message. The allegory implied in "Young Goodman Brown" is that when you leave your faith behind, you are doomed. Symbolically, Hawthorne uses the name Faith as the character of Goodman Brown's wife. Her character is written to wear pink ribbons on her cap. "Tied like a label to the head of Faith, they represent the tainted innocence, the spiritual imperfection of all mankind" (Gregory par. 2). She, as herself and a symbol, is referred to in the short story when Goodman Brown questions whether he should continue his journey or go home and be safe with his Faith.
Goodman Brown takes a journey down a path in a dark forest in Salem Village. The path is symbolic of Goodman Brown's impending descent into a life of spiritual darkness. The journey's entirety is a conflict of man versus himself. Whether his journey is real or a dream is unknown, but Goodman Brown learns that the pure end is back home with his Faith, not in the dark end of the forest.