Essay Comparing The Lottery And Young Goodman Brown

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Few walk away from a reading of either “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson or “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne without searching their own souls to see what might lay within. Where Jackson uses light to shock her reader with the juxtaposition of light and the immoral, Hawthorne uses continual darkness to show the unstable condition of the individual. Using setting, both authors create tension and foreshadow events to display the consequence of acquiescence to religious tradition. The mood of many short stories is often set in images of light and dark. Jackson places her story in a generic nineteenth century American farming community, of about three hundred people, in the village square on a clear and sunny June 27th morning to participate in an annual tradition. Her use of light deceptively soothes the…show more content…
She presents the illusion of safety in the details. In contrast, Hawthorne chooses a singular Puritan man from Salem which leaves the love of a new wife to venture alone into a dark, dreary forest at dusk. Hawthorne presents the Devil in the details. Darkness to Hawthorne is the possible condition of the soul of every man when religious tradition is paramount, whereas Jackson uses light, usually indicative of happiness, to question the irrational actions of a whole community that blindly follows religious tradition. Whether the condition of the anguished soul who steps outside of his religious community or that of a community compelled by religious tradition, Hawthorne and Jackson alike build tension and foreshadow future events using setting. Hawthorne immerses his reader with a dreary road, uncertain sounds, shadowy dark figures, and “gloom so dark that neither man nor horse could be perceived” (Hawthorne 2013, 94), while

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