Symbolism and plot are different from each other by definition; however, have a relationship towards each other when writing a story. If you understand the symbolism in a story, then you will absolutely understand the plot or the plan of events in a story. Symbolism is utilized as an enhancement tool to stress the plot of each story. Symbolism is used greatly in the short stories "Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck, and "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson; therefore, symbolism has a tendency to influence the plot in both short stories. The short stories both share the use of symbols, but the symbols are used to express different thoughts in ones mind while reading them. .
Many examples of symbolism are given to influence the plot in John Steinbeck's short story, "The Chrysanthemums." He uses the flowers to symbolize the main character's thoughts and ideas. For example, Elisa Allen is a lonely woman who enjoys growing and nourishing her chrysanthemums. Since her husband is always working the cattle in their farm, she never has enough attention or any kind of affection. The result of this dispassionate marriage leads Steinbeck to describe his main character as, "Her face lean and strong and her eyes were as clear as water. Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man's black hat pulled low down over her eyes, clod-hopper shoes, a figured print dress almost completely by a big corduroy apron with four big pockets to hold the snips, the trowel and scratcher, the seeds and the knife she worked with"(Parker, Shroyer 88). This neglect from her husband causes her to turn her chrysanthemums, of which she is very proud. Her husband's remark, "I wish you"d work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big" (89), shows how little interest he has for her chrysanthemums. Elisa does not feel appreciated by her husband and so she takes care of her chrysanthemums, which symbols how beautiful she really is.