Evil and charm are considered by many people to be very different things. It isnot often that it is thought that evil and charm coexist together. Evil isdefined to be; morally bad, or wicked, while charms definition is; a trait thatfascinates, allures or delights. According to British author Brian Masters”evil is something you recognize immediately you see it: it works throughcharm.
” Masters argument can be backed up through two pieces of literature,Shirley Jacksons “The Lottery” and William Faulkners “A Rose ForEmily. ” Both stories display evil and charm coexisting together in a societythrough setting, characters attitudes and symbolism. “The Lottery” is asomewhat sick, twisted story that sets the reader up with the right and thenpops them one with the left. To begin, the setting makes the reader feel allwarm and good inside, and gives the reader the feeling that the story is goingto be a cheerful one. “The morning of June 27 was clear and sunny, with thefresh warmth of a full summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and thegrass was richly green. ” (Jackson 229) Here, the author shows that summer isjust beginning, and that with summer, life is just beginning.Order now
The flowers areblossoming, the grass is a rich shade of green, and the towns people aregathering in the square between the post office and the bank. The descriptionsof the town are very misleading to the reader in terms of what is taking place. The charm of the town delights the reader at the start and gives the reader acomforting feeling about what is going to happen. The evil of the town is hiddenbehind a mask of charm. The characters in “The Lottery” are very misleadingto the reader in terms of character traits.
The characters attitudes towards thelottery are very upbeat and display that the characters have no problem with thefact that they are attending a lottery. The fact that a lottery is taking placeleads many to believe that there is a chance to win money for free. Where inthis case it is the chance to kill someone by stoning him or her to death. Throughout the whole story the towns peoples attitudes are lackadaisical;they dont care about the lottery, and seem to only want it over with. “Thewhole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten oclock inthe morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home fornoon diner.
” (Jackson 229) Here it is seen that the lottery somethinginsignificant and meaningless to the towns people. Evil is definitely displayedhere, as the event that is being organized and will take place is considered tobe morally bad. The charm of the people involved shines through brightly incharacter traits that are displayed. It is displayed that the persons involvedin the event are excited to be there and delightful towards the fact that theyare about to kill a person.
Another example of “The Lottery” displaying eviland charm coexisting together is the symbolism that is used in the story. Theblack box is the central idea or theme in the story. It symbolizes at first sometype of mystery, but reading further into the story it is realized that it issynonymous with doom. The box is symbolic of the towns peoples fear ofchange, it is old and splintered showing that the people of the town wouldrather cling to what is familiar rather than change, symbolizing the traditionsof the community. No one in the town questions the box, but accept it as a partof their lives. The box considered by the towns people to be charming, but has adirect link to the evil in the town as it determines who will be sacrificed inorder for the people to be happy.
Another story in which evil and charm coexistis “A Rose For Emily” written by William Faulkner. “A Rose for Emily” istold by a nameless narrator describing the life of a pathetic woman, Emily. Thesetting of the story is seen through the view of the narrator, which seems to bethe voice of the town. Emilys house is the main focus throughout the story,as the narrator constantly talks about what may be going on inside the house.
The house seems to fascinate the town, the numerous remarks that arisethroughout the story lead the reader to believe that the whole town knows aboutEmilys house. “Only Miss Emilys house was left, lifting its stubborn andcoquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumpsand eyesoreamong eyesores. ” (Faulkner 27) Emilys house is the evil part of the town asseen by the people in the town because it has become and eyesore in thecommunity and but yet they are all drawn to the house, always wondering what isgoing on inside and what Emily is up to. The attitude of the narrator displaysto the reader that the town is drawn to the life of Emily. The whole town has anidea on what type of life Emily led, but their image of Emily is created throughgossip and assumptions that were made as a result of the lack of time Emilyspent out in the public.
The town assumes that Emily has a problem withmaintaining a clean house and assume that the stench coming from here house canjust be covered up, so that is what they do. “They broke open the cellar doorand sprinkled lime there, and in all the out buildings. . .
they crept quietlyacross the lawn and into the shadow of the locust that lined the street. After aweek or two the smell went away. ” (Faulkner 28) The attitude of the towndisplayed her demonstrates that the people of the town feel that Emily has aevil aura to here as they are to afraid to knock on her front door and ask herwhat the smell is coming from her house. Instead the town decides to cover upthe smell most likely because they are to fascinated with Emily to actually talkto her.
This characteristic of the town results in the town being somewhat evilin terms that the people of the town cannot even speak to someone that delightsthem. As a result the town would rather make up stories about Emily than findout the truth. Symbolism is another method that shows how evil and charm coexistin “A Rose for Emily. ” The people of the town believed that Emily was aflower lover and that she loved to have them around. Especially roses. But theroses that Emily adored were just a symbol to confuse the town of her desire.
The symbol of the rose is used to represent the preservation of roses. Whenpreserving them they must be dried out. Emily has done exactly this, but notwith roses, with her love, Homer. “For a long while we just stood there,looking down at the profound and fleshless grin. The body had apparently oncelain in the attitude of and embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love,that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckold him. ” (Faulkner 33) Emilyhad preserved Homer much like one does a dried out rose.
The towns people areshocked at this as they realize that Emilys charm was a disguise for the evilthat she possessed. In both Shirley Jacksons “The Lottery” and WilliamFaulkners “A Rose for Emily” evil occurs but is masked by charm. Setting,characters, and symbols help to display this and reinforce that Brian Masterswas correct in arguing that “evil is something you recognize immediately yousee it; it works through charm.”