Symbolism in two Stories
In literature, symbolism refers to the act of using a thing to mean more than its real or actual meaning. Symbols do not stand for any absolute meaning. Authors use symbols m to create a new atmosphere of their art or felling of their story. It requires critical analysis of literature in which symbolism has been used to get the author’s real meaning. Symbolism creates a different form of a story and makes it come alive. The authors Shirley Jackson and Nathaniel Hawthorne have used symbolism in their short stories “The Lottery” and “Young Goodman Brown” respectively. It requires the reader to think critically and reason appropriately to get the importance of the symbolism in these stories. The two authors have used names as symbols to emphasize their themes. However, Shirley Jackson uses a single name as a symbol while Nathaniel Hawthorne uses several names. Both authors have also used actions and subjects as symbols. These actions are verbal, mental and physical. Jackson uses evil actions as a symbol while Hawthorne uses both evil and good actions as symbols.
In both stories, the authors use names to symbolize the roles or values that a character portrays within the story. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the name Faith and Young Goodman Brown to portray the characters as good. The name Faith symbolizes that the character was a faithful and good woman. The author points out that, Faith is a wife who was appropriately named. On the other hand, Shirley Jackson, in his story “The Lottery” uses the name of a character as Mr. Graves. The name Graves triggers the mind of the reader as it brings about the image of death. This character is the director of the gamble. Mr. Graves leads the company which causes him to lose his life. Additionally, the author uses the name, Mr. Summers to reflect a jovial man. The name triggers the reader’s mind to think of cheerful times experienced during summer. The author also comments that a character is a jovial man with a round face.
The two authors use symbols and actions as symbols. In the story, “Young Goodman Brown”, Hawthorne mentions the cane/staff several times. This object appears as a symbol when the old explorer tosses it at the feet of the Cloyse Goody. This reminds the reader of the parable in the Bible when the magicians came and threw their rods at Moses’ feet and they turned into the serpent as Moses’ rod had done earlier. On the other hand, Jackson Shirley uses a black box in the entire story to reflect traditions. The author mentions the power of tradition twice in the story. The first incidence is seen when Mr. Summer tries to make a new black box. However, his plan did not succeed after many years of trial. The second incidence is when the Old man warns Mrs. Adams of the crazy fools and reminds her that the lottery has always been there. As far as actions are used as symbols, Hawthorne uses the actions of the devil to portray the values of humankind. The devil gives a sermon and points out that evil are mankind’s nature. The devil claims that evil is the only happiness humankind can get. In the same story, Goodman Brown says that there his faith is gone. He claims that nothing good exists on earth. He calls upon the devil to come and rule the world which is his empire. Literally, the Goodman implies the pain he has after losing his wife subsequent to seeing the red ribbon. However, the statement is symbolic and implies that he has lost his faith in religion. This is the reason he submits himself to the power of the evil one.
In contrast, Hawthorne Nathaniel uses characters statements as symbols while Jackson Shirley applies physical actions to act as symbols. In her work, she uses physical actions of authors to reflect people’s value. For instance, Mrs. Delacroix, who is Tessie’s friend, selects a stone which was too large to be lifted with a single hand. This symbolizes the evil actions of human beings in general. In fact, the author points out that, children are being trained by their parents to participate in this evil. The story begins with children collection pebbles and putting them in their pockets. At the end of the story, the children already had the stones in their pockets and one child offered little Hutchinson some pebbles. This symbolizes how one individual successfully influences others in the society. Hutchinson participated in her mother’s death after being encouraged to do so.
In conclusion, both Jackson and Hawthorne use symbolism in their stories. Nevertheless, the meaning and use of these symbols are different. The symbols help the reader to comprehend the point which the authors try to make. The symbols help the authors to take the reader to a personal level and understand the themes. The two authors use actions, objects and names to emphasize on themes. Hawthorne has greatly used objects and names to stress on the themes while Jackson has concentrated more on names. The two stories contain symbols of evil.