Symbolism Use In: "Young Goodman Brown" and "The Lottery"


The authors, Shirley Jackson and Nathaniel Hawthorne, both frequently use
symbols within their stories "The Lottery" and "Young Goodman Brown." Symbols
are utilized as an enhancement tool to stress the theme of each story. Hawthorne
uses names and objects to enhance the theme, and Jackson mainly utilizes names
to stress the theme, although she does have one object as a symbol of great
importance to the theme. The stories both contain symbols describing evil. The
majority of Hawthorne\'s symbols describe religion (both good and evil), but
Jackson\'s symbols reflect the evil nature within society as a whole. There
exists symbolic acts in each story. The short stories both share the use of
symbols, but the symbols are used to express different thoughts in ones mind
while reading them.

The stories "Young Goodman Brown" and "The Lottery" both use names as
symbols. Hawthorne uses the names Young Goodman Brown and Faith to portray nice,
descent people. The name Faith alone implies a faithful and Christian
individual as stated "And Faith, as the wife was aptly named," (211). Jackson
uses the name Mr. Graves throughout her story, he is the coordinator of the
lottery. She needs not give any explanation to the name, as it speaks for itself
(a symbol of death). Various other names are used as symbols within each story,
however, these mentioned are the most significant names to the theme. The
stories each contain names, objects, and acts as important symbols.

Hawthorne uses the names to stress good people, but relies heavily on
objects to portray Satanism. The object of obvious Satanism is the staff (a
cane) mentioned throughout the story. It is clearly identified when the old
traveler throws it down in the sentence "it assumed life, being one of the rods
which its owner had formerly lent to the Egyptian Magi" (215). According to
the Bible. sorcerers with magic powers change their rods into serpents. Jackson
uses the black box throughout her story as a symbol of tradition not to be
changed as stated "Every year, after the lottery, Mr. Summers began talking
about a new box, but every year the subject was allowed to fade off without
anything\'s being done" (249). The fact it is an old black wore out box puts
evil thoughts in ones mind while reading the story. The symbolic objects in
each story differ, Hawthorne\'s are to show Satanism, rather than the evil in
people as Jackson\'s shows.

The stories each contain symbolic acts. The devil\'s comments during his
sermon such as "Evil is the nature of mankind. Evil must be your only
happiness" (220) is a clear symbolic act of Satanism, although Satanism is never
mentioned by the author. Jackson uses symbolic acts to stress the evil in
mankind. An example is Mrs. Delacroix, a friend of Tessie\'s, chooses a large
rock to throw "Mrs. Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up
with both hands" (254). Additionally evil in people is clearly proven in the
statement "The children had stones already, and someone gave little Davey
Hutchinson a few pebbles" (254). One finds it not only hard to believe the
children would participate, but her son participating in his own mother\'s death
too, makes this an incredible symbolic act of evil. Symbolic acts play a major
role to the theme of each story although they are used to express different
meanings.

The two short stories, "Young Goodman Brown and "The Lottery", are very
similar regarding the importance of symbols to each. The meaning of the symbols,
whether names, objects, or acts, are different. Symbols are important in each
story to define the theme. Close observation of the symbols within each story
proves to one their importance.

Bibliography

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "Young Goodman Brown"
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. X. J.
Kennedy and Dana
Gioia. 6th ed. New York: Harper Collins, 1995. 211-220
Jackson, Shirley. "The Lottery"
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. X. J.
Kennedy and Dana
Gioia 6th ed. New York: Harper Collins, 1995. 248-254

Category: English