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Symbolism in Literature: “The Raven”, “Young Goodman Brown”

A symbol is an object or a word that conditionally expresses the essence of a phenomenon. The symbol contains a particular mystery, a hint that only allows us to guess what is meant, what the writer wanted to say. Edgar Poe was the first to introduce symbolism into poetry, and he was one of the poets who create their works with bright and outstanding symbols (Mambrol). His poem The Raven is one of those works that vividly reflect the human soul. Another work in which the author uses symbolism to create a certain subtext for the reader is Young Goodman Brown By Nathaniel Hawthorne. The authors have hidden a subtle meaning behind the symbols in both works, which will be revealed to readers throughout the entire reading.

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The work of The Raven is very dark, and the reader can pay attention to it, starting with the title. It is generally believed that crows do not bring anything good but are harbingers of something sinister. A raven knocks on the window, which is considered a bad omen by many. Raven can only say one word: “Nevermore” (Poe 56). The author builds his work so that the main character asks questions and receives this answer, which increases the tragedy of the poem. In this work, the author uses symbols for readers to interpret his work with gloom and pain.

The author of Young Goodman Brown wants to demonstrate to the reader through symbols that all people are sinners by nature. The main character becomes obsessed with the fact that all people, even the most worthy ones, are sinners. In this work, symbols are hidden in people. For example, the deacon symbolizes honor and faith, and the devil is a symbol of sin. In this work, the author wants people to interpret his work as something gloomy through symbols and realize that everyone is somehow sinful.

In conclusion, writers actively use the symbols in order to hide a particular meaning of the work. This makes reading more exciting and makes people think about the depth of the work. The images created by symbolist writers have their characteristics, which will later be reduced to a specific meaning of the entire work. The authors wanted to emphasize a certain mood, thoughts, and conclusions in the analyzed works, and they wanted to demonstrate to readers what is hidden in their souls.

Works Cited

Mambrol, Nasrullah. “Symbolism.” Literary Theory and Criticism, 2020.

Poe, Edgar. The Raven. New York Evening Mirror, 1845.

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StudyCorgi. "Symbolism in Literature: “The Raven”, “Young Goodman Brown”." January 15, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/symbolism-in-literature-the-raven-young-goodman-brown/.

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StudyCorgi. 2023. "Symbolism in Literature: “The Raven”, “Young Goodman Brown”." January 15, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/symbolism-in-literature-the-raven-young-goodman-brown/.

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StudyCorgi. (2023) 'Symbolism in Literature: “The Raven”, “Young Goodman Brown”'. 15 January.

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