Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates

My reaction to the story was disbelief, it was hard for me to fathom anyone much less an entire village agreeing to such barbaric practices and creating and following a tradition where you stone and hurt or kill family and friends. Characterization The story is told in third person most of the time, it seems to be a village member who narrates the story, they are familiar with the village and the people who reside there. At the beginning of the story, it seems that the village is gathering for a fun annual event that nobody wants to miss.

With the title lottery you think there must be something good to draw for, and then you learn the person who wins is not the lucky one at all, they are the one chosen to be stoned in some ritualistic belief that stoning the lottery winner will benefit their crops. Plot The situation is a small village of about 300 people who are gathering for the annual tradition of the lottery. Everyone is anxious to attend, nobody wants to miss the event and be considered an outcast in the village. Mr. Summers is the person who conducts the lottery each year; he brings the old black box and the names of all the family members. The lottery official, the postmaster, must first swear in Mr. Summers and then Mr. Martin and his son assist in holding the black box so that Mr. Summers can draw from the box. Mr. Summers notes each year that the old black box, older than Mr. Warner, the oldest man in town, needs to be replaced but the village members ignore the request each year and hang to the tradition.

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The village members are prisoners to their traditions; everything must be done as scheduled each June and done with the same people and materials each year. Setting The setting is in a small village of about 300 people in the month of June. Everyone is excitedly gathering for the annual “lottery”. Point of View I think the point of view is from the third person for most of the story; it seems to be a village member describing the lottery and the practices that are part of the village tradition.

Tessie Hutchinson is sharing her point of view when her name is chosen and she tries to tell everyone that the drawing was unfair. Theme The theme is how a village of people is so bound to tradition that they blindly follow a barbaric ritual of stoning people for a notion that it helps crops. They do not question the validity or sensibility of this act, they just follow to be part of the group and to not become an outcast.

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