Symbolism Of Jealousy In Callaghan's Watching And Waiting

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“The spirit of envy can destroy; it can never build” - Margaret Thatcher. Jealousy and envy are horrible human traits which stem from insecurity, strife, bitterness, and obsessive caring, leading humans to do sinful things. Morley Callaghan’s short story “Watching and Waiting” depicts Thomas Hilliard, an envious husband who feels neglected by his wife and wishes to receive the same affection she shows to others. However, due to his feelings of jealousy he loses his trust in his wife and believes that she is cheating on him. Ultimately, his mistrust in her destroys their relationship and ruins the lives they previously had together. In “Watching and Waiting,” Callaghan explores the destructive nature of envy through the use of symbolism and characterization within the short story.
To begin, Callaghan uses symbolism to help illustrate the destructiveness of envy. The oak trees are utilized as a symbol of isolation in the story. Mr. and Mrs. Hilliard move out to the country to live in a home “that [is] screened from the lane by three old oak trees” (Callaghan 20). Instead of providing life, strength, and beauty to their marriage and their
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In “Watching and Waiting,” Callaghan’s uses use of symbolism exemplifies how jealousy can lead to desolation and has the power to destroy lives. Characterization is utilized to further emphasize the devastating effects of these traits on a marriage, and to illustrate how drastic their effects can be for a relationship. Jealousy devastates every aspect of Thomas’ life, and in the end, his mistrust and envious character is what leads to his downfall and death. This short story aspires readers to become better human beings and try to prevent jealousy from taking control over their lives. We must strive to bring control in our lives, and not let insecurity and bitterness guide us into
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