In The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, work together to reveal a theme of a Patriarchal Society through character traits and traditional customs. Paralleling the society during which time the Story was written. It is my argument that Shirley Jackson was trying to show the gender roles of that time zone and the repercussions women suffered for seeking equality in the workforce, such as how women were perceived during the time the story was written.
Outline l) Introductory paragraph A) Children of the village and gender colonization B) Wives and their husbands C) Male preference I) Children of the village and gender colonization A) Boys and girls gender roles B) Children responding to their fathers II) Women A) Wifely duties B) Testis C) Anne Hutchinson D) Mrs.. Delicacies E) Mrs.. Dunbar Ill) Male preference A) Male representatives B) Mr.. Summers & Mr..
Graves C) Dunbar son D) The Watson boy IV) Conclusion Much can be said about Shirley Jackson’s chilling tale, The Lottery, and considering how it’s on nearly every school reading list, much usually is. The common themes mentioned in essays concerning The Lottery generally insist of old traditions, violence, and the village’s lack of morale. However, one concept I find highly overlooked is how the village is painted out quite similarly to the social occurrences happening in America at the time at which it was written.
Women and men struggled to find equal ground to share, and the tradition of gender roles affected such considerations. First, the children of the village and gender colonization. The story starts out in the cutest manner; a clear and sunny morning filled with rainbows, butterflies, and every other bubbly detail that can be found in the beginning of horror movies hat cause the audience to sleep with the lights on and walk in groups to go to the bathroom for the next week.
Not literally, the story -?although it’s bubbly- begins with a description of June 27th, which is a clear and sunny summer day. The flowers are rich in blooming, and the grass is brilliantly green. “The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full- summer day; the flowers were blooming profusely and the grass was richly green. ” (Jackson 1) In the following paragraph the children arrive at the town square, where the boys proceed collecting smooth stones and placing them n a pile.
Meanwhile, all the girls stand off to the side talking amongst themselves and watching the boys. “The children assembled first, Of course. ” (Jackson 2) “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones; Bobby and Harry Jones and Decide Delicacies -the villagers pronounced his name “Delayer”- eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of other boys.
The girls stood aside, among themselves, looking over their shoulders at the boys- (lacks 2) As seemingly harmless as this scene may appear, it is my belief that this gives a clear insight to the upbringing of the children in the village, where the boys are brought up to be action taking influences for the lottery itself, while the girls are brought up to be more docile and unassertive, taking on the disposition of a dutiful wife. Controversy to this theory, readers believe that the boys in the story are simply rambunctious and eager for the soon to come violence while the girls take to gossip as girls often do.
This is actually true, though it’s to an extent. This controversial belief supports gender colonization, which starts at an early age when children face the norms that differentiate between masculine and feminine roles. Boys are told to “toughen up” while girls are told to “act like a lady” “Gender colonization is the process by which people learn to behave in a certain way, as dictated by societal beliefs, values, attitudes and examples. -Boys are told not to cry, not to fear, not to be forgiving and instead to be assertive, and strong.
Girls on the other hand are asked not to be demanding, to be forgiving and accommodating and ‘ladylike’. ” (EUNICE) In The Lottery, the gender roles are ere distinct, and further contextual evidence will show exactly where the village children learned these roles from. Shortly after the stones are collected, the men of the village begin to arrive. Followed behind by the women, who proceed to call their children to their sides after reaching their respectful husbands. “Soon the men began to gather. Surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes.
They stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed. The women, wearing faded house dresses and sweaters, came shortly after their enfold. They greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip as they went to join their husbands. Soon the women, standing by their husbands, began to call to their children, and the children came reluctantly, having to be called four or five times. Bobby Martin ducked under his mother’s grasping hand and ran, laughing, back to the pile of stones.
His father spoke up sharply, and Bobby came quickly and took his place between his father and his oldest brother. ” (Jackson 3) Why share this huge block of story text? To emphasize a contributing part to my theory. The men have a strong influence over their wives and children. The Women stand next to their husbands, showing submissive housewife behavior while the children disregard their mothers’ calling to them. One even runs away from his mother, laughing, yet he responds quickly when called by his father. This is due to the patriarch status of a man in his family.
Second, Wives and their husbands. To properly assume the roles of a housewife in The Lottery, the date at which time the story was written, 1 948, should be considered. In the forties, a model wife was expected to cook, clean, do laundry, do the dishes, nurse the baby, and perform the role of a proper hostess effortlessly. In The Lottery similar duties are represented. Testis Hutchinson had been doing the dishes before attending the lottery. “Mrs.. Hutchinson reached her husband, and Mr.. Summers, who had been waiting, said cheerfully.
Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Testis. ‘ Mrs.. Hutchinson said. Grinning, Wouldn’t have me leave modifies in the sink, now, would you. Joe? ,’ and soft laughter ran through the crowd as the people stirred back into position after Mrs.. Hutchinson arrival. ” (Jackson 9) The wives stand close to their husbands, a sign of respect to the head of the household. The women, wearing faded house dresses and sweaters, came shortly after their enfold. They greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip as they went to join their husbands. ” (Jackson 3) “Mrs..
Hutchinson craned her neck to see through the crowd and found her husband and children standing near the front. She tapped Mrs.. Delicacies on the arm as a farewell and began to make her way through the crowd. The people separated good-humored to let her through: two or three people said, in voices just loud enough to be heard across the crowd, “Here comes your, Missus, Hutchinson,” and “Bill, she made it after all. Mrs.. Hutchinson reached her husband” (Jackson 9) Testis Hutchinson plays a major role in The Lottery’, representing a breed of woman not found to be approved of in the early years of American society.
In the forties, granted, women had rights, they were still suppressed in society, remaining the “little woman” in their homes. Yet, during World War II, woman were needed in the workforce, filling in the job spaces while their men were away at war, keeping the economy running smoothly. Over six million women were urged into the workforce through media tactics, such as the famous Rosier the Riveter posters. However, as the war ended and men came home, three general types of women emerged.
Testis represents the type of woman who enjoyed their independence as a Rosier, and wished to continue serving in the workforce rather than reverting back to their role as a housewife. Going against her gender role expectations, Testis often talked back in an unladylike manner. Speaking her mind and arguing against the rules and regulations attached to the lottery itself. It goes so far that Testis embarrasses her husband with her outbursts. “Suddenly. Testis Hutchinson shouted to Mr.. Summers. ‘You didn’t eve him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair! ‘Be a good sport, Testis. ‘ Mrs.. Delicacies called, and Mrs.. Graves said, ‘All of us took the same chance. ‘ ‘Shut up, Testis,’ Bill Hutchinson said. (Jackson 45) Testis serves another purpose, representing Anne Hutchinson, a colonist from 1638 who was banished from her home in Massachusetts for her antinomian beliefs. A view in which God’s grace is freed from the need to observe established moral precepts. Inspired by Anne Hutchinson courage to stand up for what she believed knowing the consequences, Shirley Jackson kook that boldness and created Testis Hutchinson.
Alongside Testis, other characters also represent other characteristic roles that occurred in the sass’s. Mrs.. Delicacies is a soft spoken woman whose actions speak louder than her words. She seems perfectly fine with the tradition of the Lottery, and even goes so far to choose a rather heavy rock that requires two hands for her to hold it in order to stone Testis, the same woman she was giggling with only moments before. “clean forgot what day it was,’ she [Testis] said to Mrs.. Delicacies, who stood next to her, and they both laughed softly. ” (Jackson 8) Be a good sport, Testis. ‘ Mrs..
Delicacies called,” (Jackson 46) “The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box Delicacies selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs.. Dunbar. ‘Come on,’ she said. ‘Hurry up. M (Jackson 74) In theory, Mrs.. Delicacies symbolizes the traditional woman in the forties, who were content to stay home and depend on their husbands. And, as the name Delicacies translates to: “of the cross” it was a name denoted to those who lived near a cross symbol or at a crossroad.
The crossroad in this story is between traditional customs and modern customs. Mrs.. Dunbar is also an interesting character, symbolizing the women who had modern thoughts that they quietly kept to themselves. It was a very bold and socially outnumbered idea for women to remain in the workforce and have a form of independence. Due to this, many women who liked the idea, kept it to themselves, submissively going along with the social gender roles and expectations for women in the forties. This is shown when Mrs..
Dunbar idly goes along to stone Testis, she also chooses pebbles, a relatively harmless weapon in imprison to Mrs.. Dielectric’s choice. “The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box Delicacies selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs.. Dunbar. ‘Come on,’ she said. ‘Hurry up. ‘ Mrs.. Dunbar had small stones in both hands, and she said, gasping for breath. ‘I can’t run at all. You’ll have to go ahead and I’ll catch up with you. “‘ (Jackson 74-75) Mrs..
Dunbar also serves to symbolize another type of woman, the wife of a wounded veteran. It wasn’t uncommon for men to return from World War II with wounds of various sorts, and because of those wounds and disablement, the weight of providing for the family was still on the wife’s shoulders. We see this in context. ‘”Well, now. ‘ Mr.. Summers said soberly, ‘guess we better get started, get this over with, co’s We can go back to work. Anybody anti here? ‘ ‘Dunbar. ‘ several people said. ‘Dunbar. Dunbar. ‘ Mr.. Summers consulted his list. ‘Clyde Dunbar. ‘ he said. ‘That’s right.
He’s broke his leg, hasn’t he? Who’s drawing for him? ‘Me. I guess,’ a woman said, and Mr.. Summers turned to look at her. ‘Wife draws for her husband. Mr.. Summers said. – -guess I goat fill in for the old man this year. ‘ ‘Right. ‘ Mr.. Summers said. He made a note on the list he was holding. ” (Jackson 13-15) Last, the men of the story play as major a role as the women do. Leading as patriarchs of their families and the town itself, similar to this, the society this story parallels held likewise occupied roles; Male representatives in political office, and the workforce.
Mr.. Summers’ name symbolizes the time the lottery takes place, June 27th, the middle of summer. In personality, Mr.. Summers is a warm character, holding the pity of the unspoiled because of his lack of children and his possession of a nagging wife. Following Mr.. Summers is Mr.. Graves, making for an ironic pair. Summertime is generally renowned for relaxation, joy, and living life. However, Mr.. Graves, representing death in all of its glory, puts a dark look on a usually loved season. This is emphasized when Mr.. Graves follows Mr..
Summers to the center of the square, carrying a three-legged stool -Which had two famous historical purposes, a stool to be kicked out from underneath those in a hanging noose, and a common stool women would use for milking cows. “The postmaster, Mr.. Graves, followed him, carrying a three-legged stool, and the stool was put in the center of the square and Mr.. Summers set the black box down on it. ” Jackson 4) Mr.. Summers, a figure Of leadership, makes it clear that the head of the families are male in the nineteenth paragraph, saying that the men will get the slips of paper from the lottery box. A sudden hush fell on the crowd as Mr.. Summers cleared his throat and looked at the list. ‘All ready? ‘ he called. ‘Now, I’ll read the names-?heads of families first-?and the men come up and take a paper out of the box. Keep the paper folded in your hand without coking at it until everyone has had a turn. Everything clear? ” (Jackson 19) It’s easily interpreted that Mr.. Summers is a very influential individual, successfully changing details in the lottery ceremony to better suit his desires. Frequently requesting a new black box, changing out the wooden chips for slips of paper, and encouraging the townspeople to stone Testis. Mr.. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box. There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces f the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here. Every year, after the lottery, Mr.. Summers began talking again about a new box, but every year the subject was allowed to fade off without anything’s being done. ” (Jackson 5) “Because so much Of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr..
Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations. Chips of wood, Mr.. Summers had argued, had been all very well when the village was tiny, but now that the population was ore than three hundred and likely to keep on growing, it was necessary to use something that would fit more easily into the black box. The night before the lottery, Mr.. Summers and Mr.. Graves made up the slips of paper and put them in the box, and it was then taken to the safe of Mr.. Summers’ coal company and locked up until Mr..
Summers was ready to take it to the square next morning. ” (Jackson 6) ;II right, folks. ‘ Mr.. Summers said. ‘Lets finish quickly. ” (Jackson 73) The Dunbar boy is a relatively interesting individual, despite his lack of dialogue, his mere reference speaks plenty for his role. Generally, if there was an abele bodied young man in the family, he could help support the family so the burden wasn’t entirely on his mother. However there was a flaw, although businesses lowered the age limit to accept high school boys in the workforce during the war, not all were considered an acceptable age.
We catch a glimpse of these scenario in the dialogue between Mr.. Summers and Mrs.. Dunbar. ‘”Wife draws for her husband. ‘ Mr.. Summers said. ‘Don’t you have a grown boy to do it for you, Jane? ‘ Although Mr.. Summers and everyone else in the village knew the answer perfectly well, it as the business of the official of the lottery to ask such questions formally. Mr.. Summers waited with an expression of polite interest while Mrs.. Dunbar answered. ‘Horse’s not but sixteen yet. ‘ Mrs.. Dunbar said regretfully. ‘Guess I goat fill in for the old man this year. ‘Right. ‘ Sir. Summers said. He made a note on the list he was holding. ” (Jackson 13-15) Horace, the Dunbar boy, is an interesting name, serving justice for his role in the story, which is to tell his wounded father the happenings of the lottery. – “l wish they’d hurry,’ Mrs.. Dunbar said to her older son. I wish they’d hurry. ” They re almost through,’ ere son said. You get ready to run tell Dad,’ Mrs.. Dunbar said. ” (Jackson 36-38) Horace means Timekeeper in Latin, this appropriate because of how Horace notes that the lottery is almost complete.
Another interesting individual would be the Watson boy, Jack, who is celebrated for his filling in for his family, which consists of his mother and himself. Jack symbolizes the high choler’s who were permitted to work during the war, he also represents the young men who had to take their father’s patriarchal position in the family if he should die in battle. Seeing as to how his father isn’t mentioned, and Jack states that ex.’s drawing for only his mother and himself, this image is clear. “Watson boy drawing this year? ‘ A tall boy in the crowd raised his hand. ‘Here,’ he said. ‘I’m drawing for my mother and me. He blinked his eyes nervously and ducked his head as several voices in the crowd said things like ‘Good fellow, Jack. ‘ and “Glad to see your mother’s got a man to do it. “‘ (Jackson 15-16) In conclusion, Shirley Jackson left vague and obvious clues in her Story The Lottery to imply the social problem occurring at the time she wrote the story. Although women in 1940 were not stoned to death for declaring a flaw in tradition, they did chive a lot of heat for their opinions on such matters and had to put up a significant fight in order to gain the respect and freedom they desired.