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Lotery Death Of A Salesman Essay, Research Paper
The Lottery / Young Goodman Brown
The two short essays written by Jackson and Hawthorne are both thought provoking and full of evil. Many symbols are used to help develop the themes of both stories. The authors unveil the stories in such a way that you really don’t know what the outcomes are going to be, but you do know that they will involve insights into morality – of both the main characters and the societies in which they live. Hopefully, by discussing the two short stories, their differences and similarities will be thoroughly explained.
From the very beginning, “Young Goodman Brown” has a sense of apprehension about the ominous journey the title character is about to undertake. Even when he departed from his wife Faith, it made me feel as though something regrettable was about to take place. I guess that was Hawthorn’s first clue to the reader that there was something out of the ordinary ahead. Young Goodman Brown is venturing into the woods to meet with the Devil, and by doing so, he leaves his unquestionable faith in God with his wife. He resolves that when he returns, he will “cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven.
The first real sign of evil is when he met up with the man (Devil) in the woods. The man was carrying a shaft. The shaft was dark and appeared to have serpents rapping around it. The man’s staff eventually leads Goodman Brown to the Devil’s ceremony, which destroys Goodman Brown’s faith in his fellow man.
Upon meeting the Devil in the woods Young Goodman Brown almost immediately stated that he did not want to continue this journey with the devil. He said he was from good people and that his dad or grandfather would have never done anything like the Devil was trying to get him to do. The Devil came right back and told him of when his dad and grandfather were flogging a woman, or burning an Indian village.
When Goodman Brown’s first excuse not to carry on with the errand proves to be unconvincing, he says he can’t go because of his wife, “Faith”. And because of her, he cannot carry out the errand any further. At this point the Devil agrees with him and tells him to turn back to avoid that “Faith should come to any harm”
During Young Goodman Brown’s journey through the wood he came across a familiar old woman he’d learned from. His faith is harmed because the woman on the path is the woman who “taught him his catechism in youth, and was still his moral and spiritual adviser.” The Devil and the woman talk and afterward, Brown continues to walk on with the Devil in the disbelief of what he had just witnessed. Ironically, he blames the woman for consorting with the Devil but his own pride stops him from realizing that his faults are the same as the woman’s. Brown again decides that he will no longer continue on his errand and rationalizes that just because his teacher was not going to heaven, why should he “quit my dear Faith, and go after her”. At this, the Devil tosses Goodman Brown his staff and leaves him.
Goodman Brown begins to think to himself about his situation and his pride in himself begins to build. He “applauds himself greatly, and thinking with how clear a conscience he should meet is minister…And what calm sleep would be his…in the arms of Faith!”
As Goodman Brown is feeling good about his strength in resisting the Devil, he hears the voices of the minister and Deacon Gookin. He overhears their conversation and hears them discuss a “goodly young woman to be taken in to communion” at that evening’s meeting. Young Goodman Brown worries that the young woman they are speaking of might be his dear Faith.
When Goodman Brown hears this he becomes weak and falls to the ground. He “begins to doubt whether there really was a Heaven above him” and this is a key point when Goodman Brown’s faith begins to weaken. Goodman Brown in panic declares that “With Heaven above, and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil!” Again, Brown makes a promise to keep his faith unto God. Then “a black mass of cloud” goes in between Brown and the sky as if to block his prayer from heaven. Brown then hears what he believes to be voices from his community. Once Goodman Brown begins to doubt whether this is really what he had heard or not, the sound comes to him again and this time it is followed by “one voice, of a young woman”.
Goodman believes this is Faith and he yells out her name only to be mimicked by the echoes of the forest, as if his calls to Faith were falling on deaf ears. A pink ribbon flies through the air and Goodman grabs it. At this moment, he has lost all faith in the world and declares that there is “no good on earth.” Young Goodman Brown in this scene is easily manipulated simply by the power of suggestion – the suggestion that the woman in question is his Faith. Because of this, he easily loses his faith.
Goodman Brown then loses all of his inhibitions and begins to laugh insanely. He takes hold of the staff, which causes him to seem to “fly along the forest-path”. Hawthorne at this point remarks about “the instinct that guides mortal man to evil”.
This is a direct statement from the author that he believes that man’s natural inclination is to lean toward evil. Goodman Brown had at this point lost his faith in God, therefore there was nothing restraining his instincts from moving towards evil because he had been lead out from his utopian image of society.
At this point, Goodman Brown goes mad and challenges evil. He feels that he will be the downfall of evil and that he is strong enough to overcome it all. This is another demonstration of Brown’s excessive pride and arrogance.
Brown then comes upon the ceremony, which is setup like a converted Puritan temple. The altar was a rock in the middle of the congregation and there were four trees surrounding the congregation with their tops ablaze, like candles. A red light rose
and fell over the congregation, which cast a veil of evil over the devil worshippers.
Brown starts to take notice of the faces that he sees in the service and he recognizes them all, but he then realizes that he does not see Faith and “hope came into his heart”. The ceremony then begins with a cry to “Bring forth the converts! “Surprisingly Goodman Brown steps forward. “He had no power to retreat one step, nor to resist, even in thought…”.
Goodman Brown at this point seems to be in a trance and he loses control of his body as he is unconsciously entering this service of converts to the devil. The sermon leader then informs the crowd of their leader’s evil deeds, such as attempted murder of the spouse and wife, adultery, and obvious blasphemy.
After his sermon, the leader informs them to look upon each other and Goodman Brown finds himself face to face with Faith. The leader begins up again declaring that “Evil is the nature of mankind” and he welcomes the converts to “communion of your
solace”. He than dips his hand in the rock to draw a liquid from it and “to lay the mark of baptism upon their foreheads”. Brown than snaps out from his trance and yells “Faith! Faith! Look up to Heaven and resist the wicked one!”
At this, the ceremony ends and Brown finds himself alone. He does not know whether Faith, his wife, had kept her faith, but he finds himself alone which leads him to believe that he is also alone in his faith. Hawthorne shows that Brown has “no compassion for the weaknesses he sees in others, no remorse for his own sin, and no sorrow for his loss of faith.” (Easterly 339)
“Young Goodman Brown” ends with Brown returning to Salem at early dawn and looking around like a “bewildered man.” He cannot believe that he is in the same place as the night before. To him, Salem was no longer his home. Brown cannot even stand to look at his wife. He feels that even though he was at the Devil’s service, he is still better than everyone else because of his excessive pride.
The rest of his life is destroyed because of his inability to face this truth and live with it. The story, which may have been a dream, and not a real life event, planted the seed of doubt in Brown’s mind, which consequently cut him off from his fellow man
and leaves him alone and depressed. His life ends alone and miserable because he was never able to look at himself and realize that what he believed were everyone else’s faults were his as well. His excessive pride in himself led to his isolation from the
community. Brown was buried with “no hopeful verse upon his tombstone; for his dying hour was gloom.”
“The Lottery” also hints of evil. You see the village members gathering around this small box in town. The children where the first to arrive. Then the men and then the women soon followed. The children were gathering the rocks in the corners and stuffing them in their pockets. Jackson gives you subtle clues that something bad was going to happen in this small little village. The box gives you a clue that no one really wanted to mess with it; the box was old and chipped with much ware and tear. Jackson also gives you other clues – adults acting like they really don’t want to be there. The narrator describes Mrs. Hutchinson’s entrance saying, “She tapped Mrs. Delacroix on the arm as a farewell and began to make her way through the crowd.” The word “farewell” is used as foreshadowing to the climax of the story.
Normally when a person enters a crowd of people they are greeted, but not Mrs. Hutchinson for she is obviously leaving. Nearer the climax the hints of foreshadowing almost give away the secret. It is obviously going to make a major impact on somebody’s life. The people knew that every year there was going to be a lottery, and they maintained a sense of humor to accompany their disgruntlement. Participating in the drawing was a necessity to them, and for reasons not discussed, they accepted it. Another hint to suggest the horrible event that was about to occur is when Old Man Warner says, “Bad enough to see young Joe Summers up there joking with everybody”, thus indicating that the lottery was no joking matter.
Mr. Summers begins calling names; the residents nervously present themselves, unaware of their destiny, to pull slips of paper out of the little black lottery box. Nobody is to look at their slip of paper until all of the members of the village had drawn.
The stones that were mentioned in the first paragraph of the story now re-enter the plot and cause damage. After all of Jackson’s clues we finally find out what the lottery “winner” will receive. All of the members of the village go to the pile of stones, pick up a hand-full and throw them at Mrs. Hutchinson as she screams “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right”
None of the community questions the morality of this yearly “lottery”. They adopt the attitude of ‘better him than me’. While religion is not mentioned in “The Lottery”, it does bring up the ideas of right and wrong, and the pure evil of the winner’s prize.