Character Comparison of “Young Goodman Brown” and the “Lottery”

967 Words Jul 26th, 2012 4 Pages
Character Comparison of “Young Goodman Brown” and the “Lottery”

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Mathew Speakman

English 102
Professor Katie Robinson
July 15, 2012

Thesis Statement:
In Nathaniel Hawthorne's “Young Goodman Brown” and Shirley Jackson's “The Lottery”, we are given a picture of seemingly normal people who are capable of incredible evil.

Outline:
Opening mood in both stories a. Goodman Brown's sets out on a walk in the forest, but knows that evil awaits him. b. The townspeople act nonchalant, but pile up stones and behave with nervous tension.
Action of characters a. The characters were influenced by their ancestors and peers, and did not follow their convictions. b. They were unwilling to step out
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Strangely, the children are piling up stones and the men are especially stern. There is a feeling of nervousness in the air, as if something terrible is going to happen. Both stories, despite their everyday beginnings, elude to an outcome much more sinister. The character's actions reveal their hesitation toward change and willingness to commit evil. Instead of relying on their own convictions, the characters allow the actions of their ancestors and peers to influence their own path. Despite a mounting anxiety over evil being perpetrated, they crumble under the pressure of the majority. Several times in “The Lottery”, someone makes mention of “giving up the lottery.” Just the suggestion is met with
Speakman 2 fierce opposition from the old man of the town. Goodman Brown decides to “stand firm against the Devil”, but ultimately he presses on in the path toward sin. These characters are not willing to be the first to stand up against obvious injustices. They choose to continue down the path of those who came before them. In “The Lottery”, the downfall of the townspeople is following tradition. It is mentioned several times that many details of the lottery's ritual have been lost, but the lottery itself remains. Jackson writes, “no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box.” Old Man Warner scolds some of the townspeople, calling them
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