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What would you do if you won the lottery

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  • Pages 4
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    On a clear morning, June 27th, the townspeople, men, women, and children begin to assemble for the lottery which Is to begin at ten In the morning. The opening paragraphs completely mask the underlying darkness of this short story. As the reader progresses throughout the story, these deeper elements of the story become evident. “The Lottery’ successfully combines elements of horror, irony, hypocrisy, and tradition in a way that fulfills Carvers criteria of a story that exemplifies both menace and tension.

    Shirley Jackson manipulates the reader into believing the lottery is Just another activity taking place in an average small town. This enables the reader to become completely engaged in the story and become even more emotionally troubled when the reality and true horror of the lottery is revealed. In this small town, this type of horrific violence has seemed to become habitual. The way Jackson uses children In this story really gripped me personally as a reader. In our society, children are viewed as Innocent as well as very Impressionable.

    In this story, children re viewed at an equal playing field, both In the sense that they have the same chance at ‘Winning” the lottery as well as having the same amount of responsibly as others to stone the winner. The scene that troubled me the most was the scene where young Davys Hutchinson was too young to even take out a piece of paper by himself. Davys put his hand into the box and laughed. “Take just one paper,” Mrs.. Summers said. “Harry, you just hold it for him” Jackson, 1242). This bit of dialogue how Jackson uses children to portray the true horror of the story.

    Jackson builds on the theme of menace by creating a deeply ironic suburban setting. The town in which the story takes place is described to be very similar to any other town where the townspeople are all friendly and familiar with each other’s lives while the kids enjoyed, well Just being kids and playing outside. The Irony In this is that shortly these same people that seemed to be part of an Idealistic community would turn on one of their own, and take part In the tradition of stoning the winner of the lottery. The title of this story is ironic as well.

    The first thing that comes to mind with the word lottery is a winner of some large amount of money or some other positive experience. What does not initially come to mind is winning a public stoning by the same community that you were a part of. The theme of hypocrisy is found in several places throughout this story, but one the strongest example of hypocrisy is found within the character of Mrs.. Hutchinson. From the first time we are introduced to this character, we sense that she is a strong, respectable woman that seems to honor the radiation of the lottery.

    That is until her family was threatened. At that point she claimed, “It wasn’t fair! ” (Jackson 1242) as she argues that her extended family should then be forced to pick In the second round with them. “There’s Don and Eva,” Mrs.. Hutchinson yelled. “Make them take their chance! ” (Jackson 1241 ). The lottery Is so powerful that It even turned family members against each other as a last ditch survival technique. When the word tradition is brought up, people usually associate is involved. Tradition in “The Lottery’ breaks that mold.

    This tradition is so twisted that no one even knows how it started or furthermore why people continue to participate in it. This twisted sense of logic is portrayed when Old Man Warner defends the tradition when the idea of ending the lottery is brought up. “Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to living in caves” Jackson, 1239). Old Man Warner believes that ending of this tradition would a barbaric choice for their society. With tradition, also comes the power of conformity.

    No one feels the need to make it a point and speak out against the lottery; they would feel more comfortable committing a mindless murder to a member of their community. Yes, this story was extremely dark and hard to see the real meaning behind it, but after reading and analyzing the story, I believe that Jackson sent a message through the menacing text. Besides common sense, she provided several reasons why the tradition of the lottery should come to an end. She presents these reasons through the people to show how truly horrible it is.

    She shows the reader how the hypocrisy of the lottery brings out hypocrisy within the people. In the end, the tradition of ritually killing a member of the community due to the fact that no one can stand up against it. This is where Jackson portrays her true message to the reader saying that one should always remain attentive to how they act and what they believe. They must make a fine distinction between what they believe, and what seems to be acceptable by society. It is when this line becomes unclear; the true evils of humanity will emerge.

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