Comparative Essay



Course Title:

24 March 2016

Lottery and Goodman Brown

When comparing these two stories of ‘Lottery’ and ‘Goodman Brown’ we find that there are some similarities. The story of Lottery was written by an author by the name Shirley Jackson while that of Young Goodman Brown was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Both of these stories share symbols in common. The symbols in the two stories have been used to emphasize the theme of stress. In the story of Young Goodman Brown, Hawthorne uses some objects and names for the purpose of enhancing the theme while on the other hand, Jackson in his story of Lottery uses some names for the purpose of stressing the theme despite that she only uses one object as a symbol of great meaning and importance to theme.

The both of the two stories contain symbols that describe. Most of Hawthorne’s symbols describe and talk more about religion whereby he goes ahead and expounds religion and describes both the evil and good that religion holds. Each story has some symbolic acts although the symbols serve the importance and purpose of expressing different thoughts in person’s mind as he or she continues to read them. Both of these two stories portray symbols by using names. Hawthorne tries to use names such as Faith and Young Goodman Brown to stand for good, kind, descent and selfless people (Hawthorne, 24). Faith is a good name that shows that an individual is a good and a very faithful Christian who abides by Christianity all the time no matter what as quoted, “Faith being the wife was named aptly”. Mr. Graves is a name that has throughout the whole story been used by Jackson who is the lottery’s coordinator. The name is self-explanatory and does not therefore require any explanation about its meaning. As it is, Mr. Graves, it is an implication of death. It is used as a symbol of death.

There are also so many different and various names that have been used throughout each story. Each name has got its meaning and has been used as a symbol to represent something but these two names, ‘Faith’ and Mr. Graves are very unique and bring out the theme of the whole story that is Christianity and death in other words good and evil. Therefore each of the story have some acts, names and objects that symbolizes something hence bringing out the theme of symbolism. This author called Hawthorne is so unique in the way he portrays symbolism. He uses different names of people to symbolize good people while on the other hand, he uses objects to bring about the symbolism of Satanism.

Among the objects that he uses to bring about the theme of Satanism is the object by the name staff meaning ‘cane’ and he has used it throughout and in the entire story. The staff is identified in a clear manner when the traveler who is taken to be very old throws it towards the sentence downwards (Hawthorne, 81). The staff is explained very well in the book, how it was one among the many roads that the owner was able to lend to the Magi who was an Egyptian. We even read in the bible that those sorcerers and evil people who were believed to have some magic powers were able to change their staffs or else rods into serpents whereby a good example was set by Pharaoh. On the other hand, Jackson uses black box in the entire of her story to symbolize the traditions which could not be changed from the way they were set and stated. We read in the story that in each year this man called Mr. Summers immediately after every Lottery could be heard talking about this box which was a new box and the funny thing about it is that the subject of the year which is the new box would be allowed to just fade and be forgotten by people of the community with nothing being done. The fact that this box that Mr. Summers was talking about was and box which was worn out and was black in color for that matter, made people be filled with so many evil thoughts as they read this story.

It is evident that in every story, the objects that are symbolic are different since we can see that the Hawthorne’s objects symbolize Satanism while Jackson’s object symbolize evil that is in the people. As we can see in the story where the devil is commenting the time he was giving his sermon, he said that evil was the only nature of mankind and that people were supposed to be happy when evil prevailed (Jackson, 42). Although the author didn’t mention about Satanism, that is clearly showing the theme of Satanism. On the other hand Jackson also uses some acts which were symbolic to emphasize the evil that prevailed in mankind. A good example is where she uses Tessie’s friend who is called Mrs. Delacroix who chooses a very enormous stone and throws it away by use of her both hands. The evil that is prevailing among people is greatly proven when we read the statement that states that, ‘the children already were having stones by their hands but someone from the crowd gave a very little boy by the name Davie Hutchinson some few pebbles in order to throw (Jackson, 213)’. It’s quite unfortunate to see people involving themselves in murder and it is counted as an evil act whereby the little Davie Hutchinson participates in killing her own mother.

From my own point of observation, I conclude that the two stories that is ‘The Lottery’ and ‘Young Goodman Brown’ are very similar in regard to the symbolic acts found in each story. I also conclude that, the meaning that is being brought about by the symbols which are both acts, objects and names is very different. In each story, it is evident that the symbols are of much importance since they bring about or declare what the theme is.

Work Cited

Shirley, J. The Lottery and other Stories (FSG) Classics: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2005 Print.

Nathaniel, H. Young Goodman Brown: Wild Side Press, 2005 Print.

Shirley, J. Novels and Stories (The Lottery/ The Haunting of Hill/ House We Have Always Lived in the Cities: Library of America, 2010 Publication.

Nathaniel, H. Young Goodman Brown and other: Dover Thrift Publications, 1992 Print. Short Stories

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