Brown tries to become a man who leanstoo far over the edge of a pit. Thus the heavens darken and the symbolic pinkribbon causes him to cry out in realization.
He says “my Faith is gone!” (30),as he laughs in despair. F. Walsh Jr. explains the storm in his soul and in theforest then rises and he stumbles “into the heart of the dark forest depthswhere there is symbolically represented the complete pervasion of all that he onceheld dear” (F. Walsh Jr. 1). As Richard Fogle says, all the external manifestationsof his faith are turned upside down: “The Communion of Sin is, in fact, thefaithful counterpart of a grave and pious ceremony at a Puritan meetinghouse.
Satan resembles some grave divine, and the initiation into sin takesthe form of baptism” Hawthorne’s Fiction: The Light and the Dark,1952. As the external evidences of his religion are perverted, so is his veryFaith, which is symbolized by his discovering his wife in the unholy communion.Secondly, there is the journey into Brown’s soul whichis dark and twisted and paralleled by his journey into the darkness of theforest.
When he enters the forest, the readers are told: “He had taken a drearyroad, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stoodaside to let the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind. Itwas all as lonely as could be (…)” (25). This act is symbolic because of thefact that he is plunging into the road which leads to despair and the immediateclosing of the trees symbolizes the shutting of his escape. He is alone and cutoff from humanity but with one companion; that being the Devil (F. Walsh Jr.
1). The Devil’s mass is an opportunityfor the reassertion of the natural impulses Brown must keep hidden in theshadow. It gives him a chance to experience not only his other self but alsothe free energies of nature for which his religious has no ordering. D.
J.Moores argues that while Brown is lifting his hands in order to pray, he hearsFaith’s voice. He calls out for her and she answers with a scream.
Faith isabout to enter a meeting and so he then decides to attend as well because allgood is destroyed at this point in the story. The answer lies within the Jungian perspective in that Goodman Brown isin fact seeking himself his lost and unwanted parts. The Jungian theory andshadow refers to the “unconscious piece of a personality in which the ego doesnot identify itself” (Moores 1). Carl Jung states that the Jungian theory isthe shadow of the unknown dark side of one’s personality. Jung believed thatthe human psyche was fundamentally contradictory. Within every person’s soul,there are “tendencies, feelings, characteristics, and complexes that do notconform to ego consciousness” (Moores 1). This so called “other self” is thedouble, the alter ego, the dark self, or as Jung put it, the shadow.
Jungbelieved the shadow is the first archetype to be encountered when one engagesthe contents of the unconscious. Goodman Brown leaves the safety of his hearth,his home, and his Faith to undertake a journey he knows is not in keeping withwho he thinks he is a good Christian husband: “What a wretch am I to leaveher on such an errand,” he says, chiding himself (Hawthorne 65). Yet, heis compelled to go nevertheless, as if he knows that inner work is to becompleted on this evening deep inside the forest. Jungian theory recognizes twocenters of the psyche ego which includes the persona and conscious awareness.
Unwantedparts of the Self residing in shadow can and do compel the ego, often againstits wishes to engage in activities and express feelings not in keeping withone’s conscious belief system. Goodman Brown, who is a pure, unstained, whollygood Christian, embarks on the journey, crossing the threshold almost againsthis will, but he also knows he is about to embark on journey to complete devilish work (Moores 1). He justifies hisevil purpose with the notion that after this dark evening he will “clingto Faith’s skirts and follow her to heaven” (65). What he is seeking incrossing this threshold is true Self knowledge, which in Jungian terms,encompasses far more than conscious awareness or ego-consciousness. JungianSelf-knowledge requires the re-absorption of all parts of the unconscious,which is Brown’s unconscious urge, and which is what Hawthorne was consciouslytrying to demonstrate to us (Moores 1).
Brown is consciously unaware of thetrue nature of his devilish journey and his non-Christian self has insisted hesplit off and cast into the dungeon of the unconscious, cries out forexpression and demands he keep the journey to the woods intact. Unwanted partsmay be repressed, according to Jung, but they carry with them into the dungeona significant amount of “spiritual” energy, he says (Moores 1). Mooressays that consciousness is then reduced by the amount of repressed and subjugatedenergies located in the dark shadow. Brown’s energies compel him forwardbecause they know they can find expression only in the dark forest. Brown isnot aware of his “own sense of sire has no concomitant sense of consciousguilt, and can only see evil as originating somewhere outside of himself becausethe nature of projection is to defend the ego against other elements in thepsyche that would prove inimical to it” (Moores 1). Brown is unconscious of hisevil and thus projects it onto every Puritan he knows.
He is utterly unawarethat the scene in the dark woods is a projection of his own dark psyche.