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Comparison of the Young Goodman Brown and the Rocking-Horse Wimmer

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Submitted By doc309
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Setting and Symbolism in
The Young Goodman Brown and The Rocking-Horse Winner
The battle between good and evil is as old as Satan’s rebellion against God and his being cast from heaven with his fellow fallen angels that the Bible tells about in the Book of Revelation chapter 12, verses 7-12. Writers of fiction have been using this struggle for just about that long. The short stories The Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and D.H. Lawrence’s The Rocking-Horse Winner illustrate the battle between good and evil with elements of symbol and setting.
Drawn from the author’s Puritan background1, The Young Goodman Brown begins as the protagonist is embarking from his New England village home in the last light of the day, on a journey in the night. Hawthorne gives the first hint of the darkness as the setting for evil in Goodman’s farewell admonition to his newlywed wife Faith, when he instructs her to say her prayers and go to bed at dusk, the time when the light is gone and darkness reigns. The atmosphere at the beginning is clean and pure. The wind has a gentle, innocent feel as it plays with the pink ribbon on Faith’s cap. As Goodman’s journey continues the setting becomes progressively darker, and increasingly evil, as he travels through the haunted forest. At the end of his trip the darkness is dispelled by light in a clearing. It is not the good light of the setting sun, it is lit with an evil illumination from the fires of Hell.
The setting is very different in The Rocking-Horse Winner. Nearly the whole story is confined to one house. Lawrence’s words describe a stylish middle class home of the early twentieth century, but in a tone that leaves one feeling it is shabby. Unlike Goodman’s journey where the setting gets darker and more evil as he travels, the house in The Rocking-Horse Winner becomes haunted as it absorbs the evil of the mother’s greed and...

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