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Roberto Banda Aguilar Mtro. Emiliano Gutierrez Popoca Ingles Prefacultativo October 7, 2013 Mr.

Summers: Ideology and the Law in Shirley Jacksons The Lottery. Mr. Summers represents the ideology and the law of the town in Shirley Jacksons The Lottery. Ideology and law are related themes in this story and its characters. Ideology is a form of social or political philosophy in which practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones. It is a system of ideas that aspires both to explain the world and to change it (Encyclopaedia Britannica), and law is the discipline and profession concerned with the customs, practices, and rules of conduct of a community that are recognized as binding by the community (Encyclopaedia Britannica). Mr. Summers assumes the symbolic role of these two concepts and he represents it through the entire story. As the organizer of the lottery, Mr. Summers is responsible for guarding the observance of the law in the town. This character is in charge of the fulfillment of the laws that are implied in the ritual of the lottery. Although he is not a judge or a policeman, he takes this symbolic authority as if he were both during the contest. But, even if he is the ruler of the lottery, he has no immunity to the decree of fortune (79). In an unlucky case, he also can be a subject of coercion by the same institution that he manages and protects. However, he has to fulfill his role as an authority whatever happens in the contest.

In contrast to the previous point, Mr. Summers is the mid-point between two characters of the story (Old Man Warner and Tessie Hutchinson) that represent and express extreme points of view about the lottery. These characters put in danger the correct fulfillment of the rules when they express either the total fulfillment of the rules at any cost (Old Man Warner,) or the abolition of the contest to safeguard their personal integrity (Tessie Hutchinson). Old Man Warners point of view goes beyond the common opinion by saying about the abolishment of the lottery: Pack of crazy fools [] Next thing you know, theyll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work anymore, live that way for a while (78). This statement is an important example of how ideology is present in the mentality of the inhabitants of the town. For the oldest inhabitant of the town, the lottery and its permanence in the everyday life of the town represents the essence of civilization and human progress. Mr. Summers has to assume the role of the mediator to preserve the tradition and the legality that maintains the integrity of its community without taking extreme positions (one being a totalitarian turn in which the lottery rule the whole life of the town, or the other, dismiss the lottery, something that would break the patrons of order and social relationships between his community). In brief, without Mr. Summers authority, its community would tremble and fall into a social chaos. In Joe Summers characterization we also find a questioning about justice and its application. Although he is described by the author like a round faced, jovial man (75), he acts through the story as an indifferent man who has to keep his role in the town without any questioning to the injustice that seems to be exerted against one of its inhabitants (Mrs. Hutchinson) . But in the core of this behavior, the position and the acts of Mr. Summers (and his community) can be related to the utilitarian thesis about justice of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill (as a curiosity, one of the inhabitants of the town is called Bentham, cf. 78) . For these

philosophers, justice is []the principle of utility, which prescribes that actions are right only in so far as they promote the general happiness, or the greatest happiness for the greatest number [of people] [] (Eiken, 146). From this ideological point of view, the attitude of Mr. Summer to the claims of Tessie Hutchinson about her death sentence is an indifferent attitude, since he has to play the role of the law and fulfill the rules that bring the greatest happiness to the town. If he refused to apply this principle, he would infringe the laws of the town and the institution he manages. The questioning about justice is if its fair to sacrifice one person in order to find the greatest happiness and the best for a community. In summary, Mr. Summers is crucial to understand the events narrated in the story. Without this character, the story wouldnt maintain the suspense and the impact that are based on the existences of his figure. Since he represents the law and the ideology of his community, the right balance of the justice and the legal order is ensured. Furthermore, without his presence in the story, this could be just a narration about a senseless slaughter in an imaginary southern American town. Shirley Jacksons Mr. Summers characterization enforces the meaning and the sense of the story, and accomplishment a critic about law and its fulfillment in The Lottery. Works Cited Law. Encyclopdia Britannica. Britannica Online. Web. 23 Sept. 2013

CRANSTON, Maurice. Ideology. Encyclopdia Britannica. Jan. 2009. Britannica Online. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.

EIKEN, Henry David. The Saint of Liberalism: John Stuart Mill. The Age of Ideology. New York: Mentor Books, 1957. 146.

JACKSON, Shirley. The Lottery. Antologa de Textos Literarios en Ingls. Ed. Emilia Rebora Togno et al. Mxico: UNAM-FFYL-DGAPA, 2007. 74-81.