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Meeting the Devil: Lottery Symbols in the “Young Goodman Brown”


In the story, Young Goodman Brown, Goodman’s loss of innocence is inescapable due to the fact that he is a human. External voices do not corrupt goodman; rather, he decides to go to the forest with the objective of fulfilling the devil. Goodman’s fall is assisted in by the devil, and this exhibits the inherence of evil in his life. Nathaniel uses importance to elaborate Goodman’s loss of innocence. The Lottery Game by Shirley Jackson is a haunting story because it highlights the unpredictability of the mob psychology. Ritual homicide is the community’s lore due to the fact that the townspeople have accepted it. The Old man Warner warns individuals versus stopping the custom since it has been practiced in the town for several years. Ceasing the tradition would mean that the whole town will break down. Tessie Hutchinson passes away unjustly since she is the one that picks the marked piece of paper. The selection of the marked paper marks her for death, and it indicates that she is no longer a member of the neighborhood. The central styles in these stories are exemplified in the signs that are utilized. The style of innocence in the story Young Goodman Brown is symbolized by the pink ribbons and the style of destruction in The Lottery game is symbolized by the marked notepad.

In Young Goodman Brown, Faith’s pink ribbons are symbolic of innocence; thus, they assist in developing the theme of the loss of innocence. The pink ribbons are symbolic of Faith’s pureness and innocence. At the beginning of the story, Hawthorne notes that “And Faith, as the spouse was aptly named, thrust her pretty head into the street, letting the wind have fun with the pink ribbons of her cap while she called to Goodman Brown” (Hawthorne 1). Here, the pink color connotes happiness and innocence, and the ribbons have an innocent and modest design. Hawthorne’s mention of Faith’s pink ribbons at the beginning of the story imbuing Faith’s character of joy and youthfulness. The ribbons are also discussed when Goodman Brown is fighting with the doubts that he has about the goodness of various people in his life. The struggle in his thoughts occurs when he remains in the forest. While in the forest a pink ribbon falls from the sky and this makes Goodman brown to believe that Faith has actually fallen for the devil therefore she has lost her innocence and pureness. About the pink ribbon, Hawthorne composes that “… However something fluttered gently down through the air and captured on the branch of a tree. The young man took it and saw a pink ribbon” (Hawthorne 5). The falling ribbon signifies Goodman’s failure and the loss of his faith in humanity.He stops working because he trusts the devil that is why he embarks on the journey to participate in the witches’ Sabbath. After the falling of the ribbon Goodman cries that he has actually lost his faith. He despairs and innocence since he has fallen for the devil. After losing his innocence, he recognizes that the strict moral code that is emphasized by the Puritans is not authentic since deep down individuals are evil. For that reason, Goodman can longer rely on anyone even if they declare that they are holy. Eventually, when Goodman goes home after his journey in the forest Faith remains in her pink ribbons recommending that she is still innocent and pure hence it casts doubts on the credibility of Goodman’s experiences in the forest. The mention of the pink ribbons towards the of the story helps in establishing the style of innocence.

The significant piece of paper in The Lottery game symbolizes destruction. The annual scapegoat is figured out by recognizing the person that selected the significant paper. The paper is marked with a black dot which signifies doom. The black mark is similar to imperfection or area on a blank page. The imperfections and areas are likened to illness for this reason the look of the dot imply that the person is marked for destruction. Worrying the significant paper, Jackson describes that “Costs Hutchinson visited his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it, the black area Mr. Summers had actually made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal business workplace” (Jackson 7). Apparently, Mrs. Hutchison is reluctant to reveal that she is the one that selected the significant paper that is why her spouse forces her to let go the marked slip of paper. She is frightened to death, but she can not leave it considering that she has chosen the paper with an acne. The significant paper means that the individual is not appropriate to be part of the community; for this reason, she or he need to pass away. Joe Summers had actually marked the paper with a pencil the night before the lottery game. It means that his fate of the winner remains in the hands of another human being. The villagers bestow a great deal of power on the marked notepad because it guides them on how to stone throughout the lottery. The fate of the winner of the lottery is predetermined hence once an individual selects the significant piece of paper, he or she is destined damage.

In conclusion, Hawthorne utilizes pink ribbons to represent innocence. The ribbons represent Faith’s character, purity, and innocence at the beginning of the story. Additionally, the pink ribbons symbolize Goodman’s loss of faith when they fall in the forest. They indicate that Goodman has lost his purity and innocence since of establishing links with the devil. Goodman verifies that he has lost his faith in humanity when the ribbons fall in the forest. The marked paper signifies the damage of lottery winners in the Lottery game. The person that picks the paper is marked for stoning for this reason death is the prize that is given to the winner. The mark is similar to imperfection, and it communicates that a person that has the acne does not be worthy of to be part of the society that is why she or he is stoned to death by the villagers. The significant paper validates the fate of the winner which is destruction through stoning. Therefore, using the significant paper in the lottery and Faith’s pink ribbons strengthens the crucial messages in these narratives.

Works Mentioned

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Young Goodman Brown.

Jackson, Shirley. The Lottery and Other Stories. Macmillan, 2005.

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