When Goodman Brown meets the man whom Hawthorne later reveals to be the devil, Hawthorne draws attention to the man’s staff, which resembles a black serpent and almost seems to twist like a live snake. The staff strongly suggests the man’s supernatural and sinful nature, and it connects “Young Goodman Brown” to the Biblical story of Adam and Eve’s temptation by a serpent to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge. Goodman Brown and Faith, like Adam and Eve, are tempted to do what is forbidden in their community and lose their innocence for the sake of knowledge.
The devil’s serpent staff Quotes in Young Goodman Brown
The Young Goodman Brown quotes below all refer to the symbol of The devil’s serpent staff. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Young Goodman Brown published in 2011.).
Young Goodman Brown Quotes
But the only thing about him that could be fixed upon as remarkable was his staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake, so curiously wrought that it might almost be seen to twist and wriggle itself like a living serpent.
The devil’s serpent staff Symbol Timeline in Young Goodman Brown
The timeline below shows where the symbol The devil’s serpent staff appears in Young Goodman Brown. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Young Goodman Brown