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The short story is about the evil and passive side of human nature Get stoned by your friends and family Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery", aroused much controversy and criticism in 1948, following its debut publication, in the New Yorker. Jackson uses irony and comedy to suggest an underlying evil, hypocrisy, and weakness of human kind. The story takes place in a small village, where the people are close and tradition is paramount. A yearly event, called the lottery, is one in which one person in the town is randomly chosen, by a drawing, to be violently stoned by friends and family. The drawing has been around over seventy-seven years and is practiced by every member of the town. The surrealness of this idea is most evident through Jackson's tone. Her use of friendly language among the villagers and the presentation of the lottery as an event similar to the square dances and Halloween programs illustrates the lottery as a welcomed, festive event. Jackson describes the social atmosphere of the women prior to the drawing: "They greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip…" (281). The lottery is conducted in a particular manner, and with so much anticipation by the villagers, that the reader expects the winner to receive a prize or something of that manner. It is not until the every end of the story that the reader learns of the winner's fate: Death, by friends and family. It seems as though Jackson is making a statement regarding hypocrisy and human evil. The lottery is set in a very mundane town, where everyone knows everyone and individuals are typical. Families carry the very ordinary names of Warner, Martin and Anderson. Jackson's
portrayal of extreme evil in this ordinary, friendly atmosphere suggests that people are not always as they seem. She implies that underneath one's outward congeniality, there may be lurking a pure evil. Though the story does not become pernicious until the end, Jackson does in fact foreshadow the idea through Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves. Mr. Summers is the man in charge of the lottery. He prepares the slips of paper to be drawn and he mediates the activity. He is described as a respected man, joking around with the villagers and carrying on this foreboding event with no conscience at all. "Mr. Summers was very good at all this; in his clean white shirt and blue jeans, with one hand resting carelessly on the black box, he seemed very proper and important as he talked interminably to Mr. Graves and the Martins (282). The name Summers subtly identifies the mood of the short story as well as the administrator himself, "jovial" (281), auspicious, and bright. Mr. Summers is the man in front, the representative of the lottery, as his name symbolizes the up front, apparent, tone of the event. Mr. Graves, on the other hand, symbolizes the story's underlying theme and final outcome. Mr. Graves is Mr. Summer's assistant, always present but not necessarily in the spotlight. The unobvious threat of his name and character foreshadows the wickedness of the ordinary people, that again, is always present but not in the spotlight. Along with hypocrisy, "the Lottery" presents a weakness in human individuals. This town, having performed such a terrible act for so many years, continues on with the lottery, with no objections or questions asked, and the main purpose being to carry on the tradition. "There's always been a lottery" (284), says Old Man Warner. "Nothing but trouble in that," he says of quitting the event. However, the villagers show some anxiety toward the event. Comments such as "Don't be nervous Jack" (284), "Get up there Bill" and Mrs. Delacroix's holding of her breath as her husband went forward (283) indicate that the people may not be entirely comfortable with the event. Yet everyone still goes along with it. Not a single person openly expresses fear or disgust toward the lottery, but instead feigns enthusiasm.
but no one liked to upset tradition as was represented by the black box. however. Then she turns on her own daughter. is her sudden unleashing of her true self. "Make them take their chance!" (285). Perhaps Jackson is implying that the more artificial and the more hypocritical one is. to show an individual consumed by hypocrisy and weakness. when she truly hated it all along. It is ironic that she. Mrs. The situation in "The Lottery" is slightly relevant to our society today. She continues to scream about the unfairness of the ritual up until her stoning. "Mr. though. and is fated to be stoned. "There's Don and Eva. She pretends as much as she could to enjoy it. Hutchinson arrives late. Though it is hinted that she attempted to rebel and not show up to the event. who almost stood up for her beliefs. Hutchinson. pretending to be pleased to be present. Mrs. Hutchinson knew the lottery was wrong.Jackson may be suggesting that many individuals are not strong enough to confront their disapproval. the more of a target they are. but she never did anything about it. I saw you. with a nervous excuse of "forgetting what day it was". Before the drawing she is friendly with the other women. Mrs. Instead they continue to sacrifice their happiness. Hutchinson was clearly the target of her fears. is the one who wins the lottery. It wasn't fair!" (284). Mrs. Whether it is standing on the side to . The very moment that she sees is her family that draws the black dot. What is perhaps the most disturbing about Mrs. her selfishness is evident. for the sake of others. An intense fear of change among the people is obvious. We tend to flock toward nasty gossip and are interested in spite of the privacy of the subjects involved. The failure of Mr." she yelled maliciously. "You didn't give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box." The box after so many years is "Faded and stained" (281) just as the villagers' view of reality has become tainted and pitiful. Summers to replace the black box used for the drawing symbolizes the villagers' failure to stand up for their beliefs. Hutchinson. Jackson uses the protagonist. for fear of being rejected by society.
We have no problem stereotyping people until is we who are stereotyped. Its is the thousands of readers who replied to "The Lottery". Also read Shirley Jasckon's The Lottery and Its Nostalgic Connection to the Primitive Man. And I think Shirley Jackson makes this point without having to say a word about it.watch a fight. we as Americans seem to have no problem "butting in" where we do not belong. and being afraid to admit them. place the spotlight on someone else. We have no problem remarking on an individuals' adultery until it is ourselves that get caught. or discussing the relationship between Bill and Monica. . It is sad and definitely hypocritical. including ourselves. It seems as though we sometimes condemn everyday truths that we know are characteristics of most people. but it happens all the time. an accident. in disapproval and horror that blindly proved Jackson's theories valid and unknowingly portrayed themselves as not very unlike the villagers in the short story.
consider young Davy Hutchinson. One of the other ways ‚The Lottery‛ turns readers on their heads is because of the contrast between scenes of normal small town life—a life that is so often idealized—versus the grim reality of what the lottery really is. Other elements of true horror also sink later. when we consider that this has been described as a ‚civic‛ activity in the same vein as other community events like dances or teenage clubs. but to death? Until he or she begs for mercy? Unfortunately. a tactic that pays off as the story unfolds and all of the things that once seemed pleasant are shown to have a very dark side. for example.Shirley Jackson is a master at manipulating her reader. after all. we are expecting it is going to be a story about someone who wins something. we see how disturbingly ingrained and ‚normal‛ ritual violence has become. For instance. There was no mention about who could or could not be stoned. so who’s to say the child would not have been immune? Is it right to consider that a child could be stoned to death (or not—we are never told when it ends) since. we usually hear the word ‚lottery‛ and are filled with a sense of hope and possibility. so young he can barely hold the slip of paper in his tight baby fist—what if he had drawn the slip of paper. The title of the ‚The Lottery‛ alone is a great example of how Shirley Jackson topples reader expectations. given the nature of this story and the past of witch trials in early American communities to which Shirley Jackson gives . The horror of the lottery sinks in well after the reader has finished a first pass of the text and has time to go back and revisit some of the events. all children are allowed to throw the stones along with the adults? One of the other unspoken disturbing elements of ‚The Lottery‛ by Shirley Jackson is that the reader is never sure what the outcome of the lottery is going to be. We know that the unlucky ‚winner‛ of the lottery will be stoned. of course. Little do we know what a grim prize it will be. The title of ‚The Lottery‛ itself can serve as a thesis statement for writing about the story.
27-32. the search would be made much quicker by simply looking to the tales of Nathaniel Hawthorne. ‚The Lottery‛ is so like ‚Young Goodman Brown‛ and ‚The Minister’s Black Veil‛ in terms of themes. the children gathering stones so they can take part in group violence. pp. we can assume that the unfortunate will be stoned to death. it could easily be suggested that they were written by the same author. vol. In fact. no. Little Davy. 1 (Spring 1985). the fact that Tessie even tried to get her in-laws into the second round of drawing so they could have an ‚equal chance‛ at getting stones thrown at them…the horror really never ends and in fact. is magnified each time it is read again. Students and teachers are free to copy . if one didn’t know any better. There are so many elements in ‚The Lottery‛ that are not realized for their full horrific consequences until after the fact. The following essay was published in the New Orleans Review . 12. If one is looking to compare ‚The Lottery‛ by Shirley Jackson to another short story.more than a casual nod to.
Lenemaja Friedman notes that when Shirley Jackson's story "The Lottery" was published in the June 28. it defeats the purpose of your instructor having given you the assignment.and quote it for scholarly purposes. In her critical biography of Shirley Jackson. Students should discuss the essay with each other and in their classrooms. but publishers should contact me before they reprint it for profit. In the July 22. and does so quite deviously: not until well along in the story do we suspect that the "winner" will be stoned to death by the rest of the villagers. and old-fashioned abuse. Please do not ask me to answer your classroom essay questions for you. 1948 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle she broke down and said the following in response to persistent queries from her readers about her intentions: "Explaining just what I had hoped the story to say is very difficult. they responded defensively and were not enlightened."2 Shock them she did. I suspect. I suppose. by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village to chock the story's readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives. The first part of Jackson's remark in the Chronicle. has written in his introduction to a posthumous anthology of her short stories that "she consistently refused to be interviewed. I hoped. Jackson's husband. to explain or . the annual selection of a sacrificial victim by means of a public lottery. Why are you accusing us of this? Admittedly. Stanley Edgar Hyman. speculation. but probably owing to the symbolic complexity of her tale. this response was not exactly the one that Jackson had hoped for."1 It is not hard to account for this response: Jackson's story portrays an "average" New England village with "average" citizens engaged in a deadly rite. One can imagine the average reader of Jackson's story protesting: But we engage in no such inhuman practices. 1948 issue of the New Yorker it received a response that "no New Yorker story had ever received": hundreds of letters poured in that were characterized by "bewilderment. was at once true and coy.
a grocery store."6 More importantly. that it describes man's victimization by.promote her work in any fashion. a coal business. or what Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren call his "all-too-human tendency to seize upon a scapegoat". the lottery is an ideological mechanism." Hyman says. No mere "irrational" tradition. a school system. only that it was "difficult. What is surprising in the work of an author who has never been identified as a Marxist is that this social order and ideology are essentially capitalist." That she thought it meant something. "that they at least understood. The village in which the lottery takes place has a bank. its women are housewives rather than field workers or writers. and something subversive. I think we need to take seriously Shirley Jackson's suggestion that the world of the lottery is her reader's world. "unexamined and unchanging traditions which he could easily change if he only realized their implications. and its men talk of "tractors and taxes. she revealed in her response to the Union of South Africa's banning of "The Lottery": "She felt. or to take public stands and be the pundit of the Sunday supplements."4 A survey of what little has been written about "The Lottery" reveals two general critical attitudes: first."3 Jackson did not say in the Chronicle that it was impossible for her to explain approximately what her story was about. however. second. moreover. a post office. however reduced in scale for the sake of economy. despite its inherent inequities."5 Missing from both of these approaches. It serves to reinforce the village's hierarchical social order by instilling the villages with an unconscious fear that if they resist this order they might be selected in the next lottery. capitalist society. the village exhibits the same socio-economic stratification that most people take for granted in a modern. that it is about man's ineradicable primitive aggressivity. is a careful analysis of the abundance of social detail that links the lottery to the ordinary social practices of the village. however. it also reproduces the ideology necessary for the smooth functioning of that social order. In the process of creating this fear. in Helen Nebeker's words. .
Jackson writes. the lottery box is stored either at their places of business or their residences: "It had spent on year in Mr. Mr. 292). Graves (p. more "time and energy [read money and leisure] to devote to civic activities" than others (p. Summers make up the lottery slips (p. Mr. then.) And beneath Mr. who has the economically advantageous position of being the grocer in a village of three hundred. Jackson writes. The village's most powerful man. Graves and Mr. Mr. sworn in yearly by Mr. Summers. and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there" (p.) Next in line is Mr. Graves is Mr. (His name may suggest the gravity of officialism. And Mr. the village's second most powerful government official--its postmaster. owns the village's largest business (a coal concern) and is also its major. (Summers' very name suggests that he has become a man of leisure through his wealth. Here we have to ask a Marxist question: what relationship is there between his interests as the town's wealthiest businessman and his officiating the lottery? That such a relationship does exist is suggested by one of the most revealing lines of the text. Summers is still the most powerful man in town.Let me begin by describing the top of the social ladder and save the lower rungs for later. 293). Graves' barn and another year underfoot in the post-office. Martin. Graves. However important Mr. and Martin derive their power. the institutions from which Summers. "It had a black spot on it. Graves helps Mr. In the off season. Graves. Who controls the town. also happen to administer the lottery. it is no coincidence that the lottery takes place in the village square "between the post-office and the bank"-two buildings which represent government and finance. 292). Martin may be. 294). also controls the lottery. When Bill Hutchinson forces his wife Tessie to open her lottery slip to the crowd. economically as well as politically. Mr. the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with [a] heavy . Summers is its official. Martin steadies the lottery box as the slips are stirred (p. These three most powerful men who control the town. 293). since he has.
not because it is a mere "tradition. of . Finally. in the material organization of modern society. but because it serves the repressive ideological function of purging the social body of all resistance so that business (capitalism) can go on as usual and the Summers. Jackson appends a subordinate clause in which we see the blackness (evil) of Mr. At one level at least. Let me sketch the five major points of my answer to this question. the villagers believe unconsciously that their commitment to a work ethic will grant them some magical immunity from selection. it will be easier to explain how Jackson's choice of Tessie Hutchinson as the lottery's victim/scapegoat reveals the lottery to be an ideological mechanism which serves to defuse the average villager's deep. At the very moment when the lottery's victim is revealed." as Helen Nebeker argues. evil in Jackson's text is linked to a disorder. the lottery's rules of participation reflect and codify a rigid social hierarchy based upon an inequitable social division of labor. the Graves and the Martins can remain in power. Second. But it still remains to be explained how the evil of the lottery is tied to this disorder of capitalist social organization. It is reenacted year after year. this work ethic prevents them from understanding that the lottery's actual function is not to encourage work per se but to reinforce an inequitable social division of labor. Summers' (coal) business being transferred to the black dot on the lottery slip. Third. Fourth. 301). after working through these points. the fact that everyone participates in the lottery and understands consciously that its outcome is pure chance give it a certain "democratic" aura that obscures its first codifying function. Implicit in the first and second points above is a distinction between universal participation in the lottery and what I have called its rules of participation. then. inarticulate dissatisfaction with the social order in which he lives by channeling it into anger directed at the victims of that social order. First.pencil in [his] coal-company office" (p. promoted by capitalism. The first of these rules I have already explained.
294). is only sixteen.) Women in the village seem to be disenfranchised because male heads of households. 299). The remaining rules also tell us much about who has and who doesn't have power in the village's social hierarchy. Although patriarchy is not a product of capitalism per se. Dunbar's son Horace. whose father is dead. When her family is chosen in the first round. such inferences cannot be supported with hard textual evidence. Admittedly. Some consideration of other single household families in the first round of the lottery--the Dunbars and the Watsons--will help make this relationship between economics and family power clearer. as men in the work force. second and third rounds. still presumably in school and not working. Before the lottery. Mrs. The second round is missing from the story because the family patriarch who selects the dot in the first round--Bill Hutchinson--has no married male offspring. (New social formations adapt old traditions to their own needs. provide the link between the broader economy of the village and the economy of the household. These remaining rules determine who gets to choose slips in the lottery's first. lists are "[made] up of heads of families [who choose in the first round]. is exclusively consolidated into the hands of male heads of families and households. Tessie Hutchinson objects that her daughter and son-in-law didn't "take their chance. has to choose by proxy. Jack Watson. hence Mrs. heads of households [who choose in the second round]. "Daughters draw with their husbands' families" (p." Mr. however. then. is clearly older than Horace and presumably already in the work force. unable to attend the lottery because he has a broken leg. Summers has to remind her. [and] members of each household in each family [who choose in the last round]" (p. Mr. Dunbar. patriarchy in the village does have its capitalist dimension. The rules of lottery participation take this situation into account: "gown boy[s]" take precedence as proxies over wives (p. Dunbar chooses for Mr.course: those who control the village economically and politically also administer the lottery. Power in the village. Women are disenfranchised. but they make sense when the text is referred to the norms of the society which it . 295). on the other hand. Dunbar.
the singing out of one person for privilege or attack." working male. they are treated by men and treat themselves as inferiors. On its surface. "[takes] the same chance" seems eminently democratic. Their dresses indicate that they do in fact work. they are the oldest working males and get their power from their insertion into a larger economy. then. Hutchinson" (p. have a distinctly subordinate position in the socioeconomic hierarchy of the village. Delacroix's references to their husbands as their "old [men]" suggests (pp. I can now shift my attention to the ways in which what I have called the democratic illusion of the lottery diverts their attention from the capitalist economic relations in which these relations of power are grounded. "heads of households" are not simply the oldest males in their immediate families. 292). ."9 I . although only unconsciously. has remarked that "the lottery . as Mrs. suggests 'election' rather than selection." since "the [villagers] assemble in the center of the place.7 Within these norms. Women. as we shall see later. as Mrs. Tessie. "here comes your Missus. None of the men.8 Women. since she "belongs" to Bill. other men address her husband Bill. thinks of addressing Tessie first. is the only one who rebels against male domination. noting an ambiguity at the story's beginning. When Tessie Hutchinson appears late to the lottery. 295 & 297). [and walking] shortly after their menfolk" (p. 295). . is not. Most women in the village take this patriarchal definition of their role for granted. Having sketched some of the power relations within the families of the village. the idea of a lottery in which everyone. that is to say. but because they work in the home and not within the larger economy in which work is regulated by money. even if its effect. Graves says. They make their first appearance "wearing faded house dresses . Dunbar's and Mrs. in the village square.addresses. . who have no direct link to the economy as defined by capitalism--the arena of activity in which labor is exchanged for wages and profits are made--choose in the lottery only in the absence of a "grown. . One critic.
) Finally. But this illusion alone does not account for the full force of the lottery over the village. is the third most powerful man in the village. is an ideological effect that prevents the villagers from criticizing the class structure of their society. In the lottery. in order to convince the villagers that he is just another one of the common people. and "seem[s] very proper and important" (p. since the villagers seem to understand. If Summers wears jeans. Martin. however democratic his early appeal for help in conducting the lottery might appear--"some of you fellows want to give me a hand?" (p." the other members of his class. Summers' question is essentially empty and formal. Jackson has placed these last details in emphatic position at the end of a paragraph. multiplying its vote through campaign financing. In capitalist dominated elections. might put his feet up on the White House desk. Summers powerful in his coal company office. he also wears a "clean white shirt. it is not just anyone who can help Summers. Graves and the Martins. the unspoken rule of class that governs who administers the lottery. business supports and promotes candidates who will be more or less attuned to its interests." a garment more appropriate to his class (p. as a President. probably unconsciously. while leaning he talk[s] interminably to Mr. 294). analogously." moments in their official "democratic" conduct of the lottery--especially Mr. Summers' conduct as their representative--reveal the class interest that lies behind it. even though their exclusive control of the lottery suggests that they are. then.would like to push the analogy further. who responds. say. the village ruling class participates in order to convince others (and perhaps even themselves) that they are not in fact above everyone else during the remainder of the year. The lottery's democratic illusion. Yet just as the lottery's black (ballot?) box has grown shabby and reveals in places its "original wood color. The lottery also reinforces a village work ethic which distracts the villagers' attention from the division of labor that keeps women powerless in their homes and Mr. . while each individual businessman can claim that he has but one vote. If he leans casually on the black box before the lottery selection begins. 292)--Mr. 294).
Dunbar has broken his leg. Old Man Warner (an alarmist name if there ever was one) emerges as an apologist for this work ethic when he recalls an old village adage. 298). corn be heavy soon. (Such rituals do not necessarily involve human sacrifice. Wherever we find "magic. . we'd all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. are the least "productive" families in the village: Mr." (p. The village women reveal such an unconscious fear in their ejaculatory questions after the last slip has been drawn in the first round: "Who is it?" "Who's got it"" "Is it the Dunbars?" "Is it the Watsons?" (p. The Dunbars and the Watsons. 297) But Warner does not explain how the lottery functions to motivate work. live that way for a while." we are in the realm of the unconscious: the realm in which the unspoken of ideology resides. we might guess that Old Man Warner's pride that he is participating in the lottery for the "seventy-seventh time" stems from a magical belief--seventy-seven is a magical number--that his commitment to work and the village work ethic accounts for his survival. Given this unconscious village fear that lack of productivity determines the lottery's victim. they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves. nobody work any more. it would have to inspire the villagers with a magical fear that their lack of productivity would make them vulnerable to selection in the next lottery.In the story's middle. 297). In order to do so. it establishes an unconscious (unspoken) connection between the lottery and work that is revealed by the entirety of his response when told that other villages are considering doing away with the lottery: "Pack of crazy fools . "Lottery in June.' First thing you know. it so happens. corn be heavy soon" (p. listening to young folks. Mr. . Watson is dead.) As magical as Warner's proverb may seem. Used to be a saying about 'Lottery in June. At one level. the lottery seems to be a modern version of a planting ritual that might once have prepared the villagers for the collective work necessary to produce a harvest. Next thing you know. . There's always been a lottery. nothing's good enough for them.
. however appropriate it might be in an egalitarian community trying collectively to carve an economy out of a wilderness. what he means to say is "so that you can go back to work for me. Just before the first round drawing. "Well. now . Summers remarks casually. rebels against her role. Tessie's rebellion begins with her late arrival at the lottery. Warner laments Summers' democratic conduct: "Bad enough to see young Joe Summers up there joking with everybody" (p. 295). in order to show us the unconscious connection that the villagers draw between the lottery and their work ethic. is Summers' ideologist. The way in which she says this. Tessie. Summers that she was doing her dishes and forgot what day it was. that is to say. Dunbar. however. At the end of his remarks about the lottery. her rebellion is entirely unconscious.Old Man Warner's commitment to a work ethic. of course. Warner. a faux pas that raises suspicions of her resistance to everything that the lottery stands for. however." The final major point of my reading has to do with Jackson's selection of Tessie Hutchinson as the lottery's victim/scapegoat. She explains to Mr. even if he does "moderni8ze" it. get this over with. guess we better get started. But to do so would not have revealed that the lottery actually reinforces a division of labor. Tessie. is a woman whose role as a housewife deprives her of her freedom by forcing her to submit to a husband who gains his power over her by virtue of his place in the work force. 297). since by running the lottery he also encourages a work ethic which serves his interest. after all. The "we" in his remark is deceptive. involves her in another faux pas: the suggestion that she might have violated the village's work ethic and neglected her specific . since it encourages villagers to work without pointing out to them that part of their labor goes to the support of the leisure and power of a business class. Yet this criticism obscures the fact that Summers is not about to undermine the lottery. She could have chosen Mr. and such rebellion is just what the orderly functioning of her society cannot stand. Unfortunately. so's we can go back to work" (p. is not entirely innocent in the modern village. .
Tessie yells. that the lottery might be given up. . 297). in Mr. the villagers treat her as a scapegoat onto which they can project and through with they can "purge"--actually. "Get up there Bill" (p. 295). 299). and in the laughter of the crowd. In stoning Tessie. now. The only places we can see these rebellious impulses are in Tessie. Tessie's daughter Eva. . It would have been fine with her if someone else had been selected. even more than the village women's singling out of the Dunbars and the Watsons. squelched by Warner. 302). Tessie goads her husband. That Tessie's rebellion is entirely unconscious is revealed by her cry while being stoned. Summers calls her family's name. All of these faux pas set Tessie up as the lottery's likeliest victim. Tessie does not object to the lottery per se. In doing so. (The crowd's nervous laughter is ambivalent: it expresses uncertainty about the validity of the taboos that Tessie breaks. 295).job within the village's social division of labor: "Wouldn't have me leave m'dishes in the sink. Her final faux pas is to question the rules of the lottery which relegate women to inferior status as the property of their husbands. Adams' suggestion. When Mr. the extent of the village's commitment to its work ethic and power structure (p. she inverts the power relation that holds in the village between husbands and wives. her remark evokes nervous laughter from the crowd. Summers asks Bill Hutchinson whether his family has any other households. belongs to Don and is consequently barred from participating with her parents' family. even if they do not explicitly challenge the lottery. "There's Don and Eva .) But ultimately these rebellious impulses are channeled by the lottery and its attendant ideology away from their proper objects-- . when Mr. the term repress is better. only to her own selection as its scapegoat. The "soft laughter [that runs] through the crowd" after this remark is a nervous laughter that indicates. "It isn't fair" (p. . Again. which sense the taboo that she has violated. since the impulse is conserved rather than eliminated-their own temptations to rebel. would you Joe?" (p. Make them take their chance" (p. and Mrs. however.
the villagers cannot articulate their rebellion because the massive force of ideology stands in the way. they are anxious that summer has let them out of school: "The feeling of liberty sat uneasily on most of them" (p. When Tessie is selected. Moreover. 301). 291). Bill Hutchinson reasserts his dominance over his wayward wife and simultaneous transforms her into a symbol to others of the perils of disobedience. then. Here I would like to point out a curious crux in Jackson's treatment of the theme of scapegoating in "The Lottery": the conflict between the lottery's arbitrariness and the utter appropriateness of its victim. in the name of work and democracy. Like their parents. since the village does not literally choose her. Jackson has attempted to show us whom the village might have chosen if the lottery had been in fact an election. the one . An act of scapegoating that is unmotivated is difficult to conceive. By holding up the slip. Admittedly. and before she is stoned. In choosing Tessie through the lottery. Mr. But by presenting this election as an arbitrary lottery. Tessie is a curious kind of scapegoat. Summers asks her husband to "show [people] her paper" (p. Possibly the most depressing thing about "The Lottery" is how early Jackson represents this blindness as beginning. As if to quell this anxiety. the inequitable social division of labor and power on which its social order depends. they have learned that leisure and play are suspect. Even the village children have been socialized into the ideology that victimizes Tessie. the village boys engage in the play/labor of collecting stones for the lottery. The lottery functions. however. once we realize that the lottery is a metaphor for the unconscious ideological mechanisms of scapegoating. The crux disappears. she gives us an image of the village's blindness to its own motives. to terrorize the village into accepting.capitalism and capitalist patriarchs--into anger at the rebellious victims of capitalist social organization. When they are introduced in the second paragraph of the story. Like Tessie. single her out. they follow the lead of Bobby Martin.
of course" (p. just as they will be expected to remain outside of the work force and dependent on their working husbands when they grow up. humane impulses. the village girls stand off to the side and watch. the adults help him while he looks at them "wonderingly" (p. and Mrs. How do we take such a pessimistic vision of the possibility of social transformation? If anything can be said against "The Lottery. Adams. Graves have no boys). 291)--does not imply that children take a "natural" and primitive joy in stoning people to death. whom they imitate in their play. 301) to stone his mother. in hoarding and fighting over these stones as if they were money. briefly mention other villages that are either talking of giving up the lottery or have already done so. But this does not mean that he could not learn otherwise. Mr. When he has to choose his lottery ticket. While the boys do this. In order to facilitate her reader's grasp of this point. the one thing we ought not do is make it into proof of the innate depravity of man. Summers and Mr.boy in the story whose father is a member of the village ruling class (Mr. whose last name suggests a humanity that has not been entirely effaced. Before Old Man Warner cuts them off. indicates a reservation--a vague sense of guilt--about what they are about to do. The first line of the second paragraph--"The children assembled first. however." it is probably that it exaggerates the monolithic character of capitalist . 300). The village makes sure that Davy learns what he is supposed to do before he understands why he does it or the consequences. which the lottery represses.10 The closer we look at their behavior. but that they hint at the possibility. "someone" has to "[give] Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles" (p. Even the village adults are not entirely hopeless. The Adams's represent the village's best. the more we realize that they learned it from their parents. Jackson has included at least one genuinely innocent child in the story--Davy Hutchinson. however furtively. And when Tessie is finally to be stoned. Probably out of deep-seated fear. they do not suggest that their village give it up. impulses. As dismal as this picture seems.
Yet if in order to promote itself it has to make promises of freedom. No doubt. It is our fault as readers if our own complacent pessimism makes us read Jackson's story pessimistically as a parable of man's innate depravity. Perhaps it is not Jackson's intention to deny this. . but to shock her complacent reader with an exaggerated image of the ideological modus operandi of capitalism: accusing those whom it cannot or will not employ of being lazy. and pitting workers against each other and against the unemployed. offering men power over their wives as a consolation for their powerlessness in the labor market. pockets of resistance grow up among the disillusioned. promoting "the family" as the essential social unit in order to discourage broader associations and identifications. capitalism has subtle ways of redirecting the frustrations it engenders away from a critique of capitalism itself. prosperity and fulfillment on which it cannot deliver.ideological hegemony.
refers to the theme of "conformity to tradition" not only in the title but in the introduction. only a few years after the discovery of how German citizens assented to Nazi atrocities. notice especially how the writer includes an academic title. yet no mercy is shown to her (269). almost a sport. uses the present tense. . tradition that habit. and most of the topic sentences. conclusion. creates specific topic sentences that identify each paragraph's main idea and that contain a transition that refers back to the previous paragraph. "They Still Remembered to Use Stones": Conformity to Tradition and Authority in Jackson’s "The Lottery" "‘It isn’t fair." Shirley Jackson depicts this inhumane action as something that has become a meaningless tradition. Written in 1948. The townspeople kill their friend and family member without a sense of remorse. In "The Lottery. thoroughly analyzes the story. Jackson shows how seemingly decent people may perform cruel acts in their unquestioning acceptance of tradition. otherwise average American town. indicates towards the end of the introduction the story's theme and the main ideas of each body paragraph. smoothly integrates quotations. average people are capable of acquiescing to evil until they are its victim. but apparently set in an rural. peer pressure. Hutchinson screams. the story suggests that even normal. It isn’t right.In this essay. and the children’s upbringing perpetuate.’" Mrs.
’" this town continues its. and he knows better than anyone else about how the lottery should be conducted and why they still do it. and the people then understood what was going on and why. if there were no Nile. The town originally held the lottery for the good of the community. there would have been no Egypt. the real reasons for the lottery have become virtually unknown to most of the people in the present generation as they mindlessly conform to the tradition. people would search for the most beautiful virgin girl in all of Egypt every year. When they found her. then there will not be good crops. they must pay back to the land what was given to them. however. The land is their god that provided a good life for the community. not a casual. In other words. The . In Ancient Egypt. ceremonial time. Next thing you know. . Jackson gives readers an insight into the real reasons for the lottery. because the Nile was their god as well. Warner states with disgust. "‘Some places have already quit lotteries.’ he said. and they will become primitives living in caves. there must have been a good reason for it to have started originally. they’ll be wanting to go back to caves . ‘. "Bad enough to see young Joe Summers up there joking with everyone" (268). . It is a "necessity" because otherwise the community will not survive. As irrational as this may sound. The Nile was the source of their economy and the essence of life. The lottery was originally a serious. . but if they don’t sacrifice one of their own. The people are willing to give up one for the good of the whole community. Through Old Man Warner and his attitude towards the towns that have given up the lottery. the Nile would not provide. Adams tells Old Man Warner. . Even though Mrs.Even though the lottery seems without meaning. this type of activity has been displayed throughout history. Old Man Warner is the oldest man in the town. Old Man Warner symbolizes the lottery of old and what the real reason the lottery was for. joking matter. He is angry that people no longer appreciate the importance of the lottery: "‘Pack of crazy fools. . Warner states that they will only have "‘stewed chickweed and acorns’" to eat (284). Used to be a saying about "Lottery in June. corn be heavy soon"’" (289). they would throw her into the Nile out of fear that if they did not.
In the same manner.townspeople continue it even though most of the equipment and ceremony have disappeared or changed: "The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago . They do it together. storing the box in various places: "in Mr." (281). . the teen-age club. there still is an important subconscious reason for maintaining the lottery. until now it was felt necessary only for the official to speak with the person approaching" (282). "‘Come on. The box is said to be made of some of the same wood from the original box--apparently very little." and a ritual salute "had changed with time. As long as they stick together as a group. Not only habit but also peer pressure plays a major role in the townspeople’s mindlessly obeying tradition. To do away with it would be admitting that they were wrong about the lottery altogether. . everyone. In addition. Warner says. The lottery has become a casual town event. The men tell jokes and the women gossip while someone’s life is about to be taken. the lottery itself is mostly different now except for a few things like the usage of the stones. seemingly decent people can commit inhuman acts in adhering blindly to tradition." or "on a shelf in the Martin grocery" (282)." underfoot in the post office. "conducted--as were the square dances. . .’" encouraging all to participate in the slaughter (286). the ultimate victim of this lottery even takes the event so lightly that she almost forgets what day it is." and "much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded . The townspeople treat the box as casually as they do the murder. The black box symbolizes the tradition of the lottery in its present decayed condition. Grave’s barn. Ironically. therefore. all the hundreds of people who died in the lottery over the years would have died in vain. who had the time and energy to devote to civic activities" (281). Summers. it makes it easier. the Halloween program--by Mr. a ritual chant "had been allowed to lapse. . Even though the tradition has lost its meaning for most of the townspeople. come.
Tessie’s tone changes from unconcern to fear only when she is threatened. Tessie’s reaction illustrates people’s willingness to allow something to persist provided it does not touch them. Even then. so’s we can go back to work’" (282)." obviously playing some sort of "king of the mountain" on the stones that would eventually kill (280 ). What about hazing? There are countless incidents of death relating to . "‘guess we better get started. Is Jackson’s story ludicrous. Hutchinson complains about her being chosen. peer pressure. and town authority only until they are affected themselves. The Delacroix boys make a pile of stones and then "guarded it against the raids of the other boys. Bobby Martin runs back to the prepared pile of stones. for the children the lottery is very much a game. and they are totally blind. Summers emphasizes the townspeople’s desire to get the lottery over with when he says. Alcohol kills. Tessie’s good friend. Even if the adult population has some notion of what is going on. and Mrs. Delacroix gamely picks up "a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands . yet Americans still consume it. thus perpetuating a meaningless tradition. Then she is willing even to sacrifice her married daughter to lower her own chances of being chosen. Delacroix." (286). . and all the children act as though they are participating in "boisterous play" (280). however. an exciting sport rather than a meaningful ritual. yet it is linked to all traditional holidays and weekends as well. Mr. The townspeople are content to continue obeying this tradition. "‘Be a good sport. or does it relate to any practices in American society? For example. laughing. her attitude is not that the lottery is wrong but that the drawing in some way "‘wasn’t fair’" (285).Now the lottery is a meaningless duty to be done with or. alcohol kills more lives than any other drug in America. worse. . The children represent the next generation that will perpetuate the tradition. get this over with. Tessie. calls out without any sense of remorse. they learn how to perform the ritual without understanding its purpose. Jackson plainly portrays the lottery’s transition to being a sport when Mrs.’" when Mrs.
In this story “The Lottery” the lottery was actually a raffle that was held every year in a town. Each piece of paper was blank except for one. America is more pagan and immoral than what citizens want to believe. Shirley Jackson: The Lottery In the story “The Lottery” Shirley Jackson’s method of using irony to get the idea across that people need to open up to change was successful. The head of the household who grabbed the paper with the black dot on it. Bill. I love when authors use irony in a story because it tricks the reader into thinking something is going to happen but instead something else happens. When something bad is going to happen to one person out of a large group of people. was going to get stoned. Another ironic event from the story is the title itself. Everyone in the town gathered together and the head of each family would go up to the box and pull a piece of paper. Hutchinson was encouraging her husband to pick the lottery ticket.fraternity membership. The “winner” of the lottery grand prize wasn’t money or a free vacation.’" Tessie yells. “”Get up there. and they are still sent out by their parents the next year.so. Well that was the complete opposite of this story. it isn’t right.” as her family name was called. people tend to be so sure that it won’t be them. his family was up for another draw and everyone else was safe . you think of money. When you hear the word “lottery”. Jackson is also trying to show how America is decaying morally and how seemingly normal people are capable of cruelty. Note: The Works Cited should be on a SEPARATE page. By using ironic examples throughout the story it really made me want to know what was going to happen next. And when the television set is turned to HBO boxing. "The Lottery" depicts the practice of continuing a tradition even though it is harmful and has lost its meaning. Hutchinson said to her husband. No. especially not her. An ironic event form the story is when Mrs. Are Americans decent people who perform inhumane acts in their unquestioning acceptance of tradition? "‘It isn’t fair. Al. this essay cites an OLD edition of another anthology. but is it fair and right when an innocent family of four is plowed down by a drunk driver on New Year’s Eve? To Jackson. Shirley Jackson’s seemingly exaggerated point of view of Americans may not be so exaggerated after all. Americans scream and yell with excitement as Mike Tyson pounds his opponent into a bloody mess. yet it still happens. I like that Shirley used irony because it added a sense of suspense to the story. but it was death. Mrs. Children are killed by razor blades and poison in candy bars every year in October. In depicting how the lottery went from being a meaningful ceremony to a meaningless sport. She was so confident that no one from her family. you will have to use the information from YOUR textbook when you cite the story you're analyzing.
In the story Mrs. Reply ↓ keke lawson on July 19. Hutchinson screamed.”. The ironic events she used. it isn’t right. I would love to read/watch another story by Shirley Jackson. Bill. The family would approach the box. Reply ↓ Jerrell Meads on July 19. and then they were upon her. 2011 at 3:34 pm said: Your thesis statement was “Shirley Jackson’s method of using irony to get the idea across”. It is irony because she was joking . definitely kept me on my toes.” Shirley Jackson did a great job at forcing the reader to predict what was going to happen because of the irony she used. and then they were upon her. Hutchinson screamed.” yes Kaylan Roberson proved Shirley Jackson method of using irony.and free to keep their life. She is truly an amazing writer. . Whoever pulled out the paper with the black dot would get stoned.Special K Reply ↓ Susan Boehl on July 19. and then they were upon her. she proved her point and what she believed. In the story “The Lottery” Shirley Jackson’s method of using irony to get the idea across that people need to open up to change was successful quotes dawg . Bill.”” Mrs.” you did a fabulous job ! keep up the good work .” Yes Kaylan did a excellent job her facts and statement were both correct! Reply ↓ masaddiq on July 19.” ”It isn’t fair. You stated that it was successful. 2. put their hand in. Bill” is a form of irony because he went up there and got the wrong card and got mad and started saying things like ”It isn’t fair. Quote 1: “Get up there. quote 1:”Get up there. it isn’t right. After she discovered she was the one getting stoned she said “”It isn’t fair. and it was.”Get up there.” quote 2: ” Mrs. Hutchinson was the one who was chosen to be stoned. it isn’t right. 2011 at 3:28 pm said: Your thesis statement stated that Shirley Jackson’s method in “The Lottery” was irony to get the point across that people of the village need to open up and change. 2011 at 12:44 pm said: you thesis statement: Shirley Jackson’s method of using irony to get the idea across that people need to open up to change was successful. and pull out a piece of paper. Bill” Quote 2: ” Mrs. 2011 at 12:45 pm said: thesis dawg . Hutchinson screamed. ”Get up there.
” they still stoned her. Summers “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. In the story the people didn’t even care all they said was “Let’s finish quickly. 3. In the story “The Lottery” every year they would have a lottery but it wasn’t for money it was for your life. Shirley Jackson used the method of sarcasms to show people that some religious activities are completely despicable. I’m going to join the people with enough since not to kill there self. But no they were in a rush to murder somebody and that is completely insane. The town would gather around each other in the street. 2011 at 12:39 pm said: The Lottery Ticket Picture your self being hit with big heavy rocks because your name was pulled from a box. The rituals that religious groups practice puts people in danger and even kills them. Joe? Not know that she was going to be picked. Hutchinson came she’s all laughs and giggles. blood and the use of murder weapons. now. Shirley used sarcasm by making Tessie the last person to show up to the lottery and when she got there Mr. when the people where standing around they knew their lives were in jeopardy. and when your name got called you would have to pull a piece of paper out of the box and if yours had a black dot on it then you were the one who had to get stoned. she kept trying to get them to start the drawing over again. but why would you want to give blood or sacrifice yourself because you think that’s what your god want you to. Summers said “Thought we were going to have to get on without you. The story was about a community pulling pieces of paper to determine who will get stoned to death. First. The Lottery is a short story by Shirley Jackson where she reveals her views on traditions and how ridiculous they can be. It wasn’t fair!” Also. In the Lottery Tessie was the one that was chosen and as she yelled “It isn’t fair. I saw you.” Like they were writing a paper and they wanted to get done with it. No that’s stupid if you think you’re going to heaven because you offered to kill yourself. Then when they showed the rocks. One literary term Shirley Jackson used to make her point in the story was exaggeration. they . If it means that’s I have to hurt myself to be a part of a group then they can forget it cause I won’t be joining them. Second example of exaggeration was mostly shown in the movie. That type of stuff shouldn’t be allowed to happen. Exaggeration is part of this short story. Like the ones that involve sacrifice. 2011 at 12:11 pm said: Lottery Analysis Shirley Jackson used the methods sarcasms in the story the lottery by wanting people to change their views on some of the religious rituals or traditions that they participate in. I don’t understand what would make you join a suicidal religious group. but when Mrs. Reply ↓ Delana Cook on July 18. Like for the ones that like to have rituals that puts somebody in danger or even kills them.around then she died. Like some rituals should be illegal to do because of the sickening stuff that occurs. Shirley Jackson’s short story is explained by using this literary term along with other ones. You did a good job proving your point Reply ↓ keke lawson on July 18. Why would you want to have a ritual that could kill you. In this story she is trying to tell readers that some traditions are ridiculous. I mean I understand that some people do it because its apart of their religion. Some rituals should be illegal to do because of the brutal activity that is involved. Then once her family was the one with the piece of paper she flipped out saying to Mr. would you. She uses the story the lottery to show that some practices are just dreadful.” And she answered “Wouldn’t have me leave m’dishes in the sink. Tessie.
Shirley Jackson was just trying to make a statement by writing this short story. Dunbar. 2011 at 12:39 pm said: . and some other literary terms. she proved her point very well and did a good job. By using sarcasm. “Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. That was all she wanted to do.” . “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. Reply ↓ . .Special K Reply ↓ Jerrell Meads on July 19. some traditions that people do are ridiculous. “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. Dunbar.” Two quotes that help support your thesis statement is.Your thesis statement is. I saw you.exaggerated on how big the actually rocks where. 2011 at 3:32 pm said: Your thesis statement was. Then they tried to give the youngest Hutchinson a rock to throw at his mother. It wasn’t fair!” and “Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. “Shirley Jackson used to make her point in the story was exaggeration.” You did a fantasitc job because everything you said shows good reasons and examples of how this is exaggeration. I saw you. The movie was more of an exaggeration because of the fact you seen the actions. “Shirley Jackson used to make her point in the story was exaggeration. quote 1: “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. She saying that some traditions should be changed. The statement she made was that.Two quotes from the story that supported your thesis statement are.” They were big for no reason. I saw you. 2011 at 12:49 pm said: thesis statement: he Lottery is a short story by Shirley Jackson where she reveals her views on traditions and how ridiculous they can be. Reply ↓ Kaylan Roberson on July 19. she successfully got her point across. Nice quotes! Reply ↓ keke lawson on July 19.” . Dunbar. Dunbar. It wasn’t fair!” and “Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. was to let people know of the crazy traditions other people do.You did a very good job proving your case in this story. exaggeration.” yes Delana Cook did proved Shirley Jackson writing method of exaggeration. It wasn’t fair!” quote 2: “Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs.
said carefully “Though we were going to have to get on without you. come on. corn be heavy soon”. Old man Warner comments on how everything is being done wrong. One way Shirley Jackson used sarcasm is by making Mrs. Traditions don’t encourage children to commit murder. The times are changing and its time for some traditions to change too. Many traditions are only preformed simply because they are a tradition. The short story tells in the beginning of a town of hard working people. Summers. now. 2011 at 12:53 pm said: Literary Analysis of The Lottery Anthony Murphy 1st hr Shirley Jackson used sarcasm as tools to show that it is ok to move on from tradition. Susan Boehl on July 18. “Come on. The tone and mood that the author set while Mr. What makes these quotes sarcastic is that they don’t really make sense and they send off a goofy kind of tone. coming together on the same day every year. While people drew their cards as if they were not facing death. Everybody seems seems to know that Mrs.”. If a person really thinks about it. In some countries people eat the placenta after a child birth. Hutchinson late because no one really wants to be there for the lottery drawing. During the ceremony. All parts of the community take part in this affair.” and “Thought my old man was out back stacking wood.”. we set cookies out for Santa Claus the night before Christmas. Another example of sarcasm is when Mr. the conductor of every major event in the village. However. For example “Clean forgot what day it was. I believe that when Mr. Tessie. Mrs. When the “winner” of the Lottery is chosen. She wrote the story The Lottery in the sixties and it has had and huge effect on Americans at the time. She wrote this story with such a shocking and unexpected ending made her story stick out. These are ways Shirley Jackson used sarcasm and effectively communicated to the read that some traditions . Hutchinson was lying about her excuses for being late because Mr. In conclusion his greeting was more like a good-bye. Summers seems to tease the participants as they grabbed a card. He is speaking as the generations before who believe that it is the traditions way or the high way. says “Hi. Joe. they are stoned to death. displays her carelessness by coming later than everybody else. They are having a lottery and the winner dies. Anthony Murphy on July 18. Joe?. who had been waiting.” And “Hi. In America. traditions do sometimes hurt people and Jackson’s method of exaggerating pointed that out. would you. Shirley Jackson successfully portrayed her message by over exaggerating. Hutchinson.” as if getting stoned was an honor which it isn’t if you’re the one getting stoned. Hutchinson even cracks jokes and gives excuses in the story proving the sarcasm. He is over exaggerating the effect the Lottery has on the community. our customs are exposed for what they really are. People have become both offended and aware of the wrong in some traditions. Steve. 2011 at 12:41 pm said: Susan Boehl 1st hour College Writing Silly Traditions Every culture has different traditions. Warner could be heard above everyone saying. from infant to elderly. Summers. In the short story The Lottery. the women who gets stoned to death later in the story. The Lottery has gotten a lot of attention because of it’s over exaggerated situation. everyone!” The chosen method of murder is exaggerating how horrific traditions are. Summer said “hi” he meant” bye” because that may be their last time he sees them. Jackson successfully made people think about what they do just because their father’s father has done it. Summers called up the names of villagers was serious and anxious but Mr.” or “Wouldn’t have me leave m’dishes in the sink. silly traditions. Jackson’s exaggerations aren’t so far fetched after all. quoting an old saying “Lottery in June. Mrs.
Shirley Jackson did a very well job using sarcasm to give this story meaning. Reply ↓ was making sarcastic jokes about the lottery. . The moral of the story is its ok to move on.are not worth practicing and people need to move on tradition.
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