Written by Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery” is a short story about a town that hosts an annual lottery that decides which person is stoned by the rest of the town. Jackson slowly and subtly builds the suspense throughout the story, only resolving the mystery surrounding the lottery at the very last moment, as the townspeople surround Tessie with their stones. The symbolism utilized helps demonstrate the overall significance of the story, such as the lottery itself. The lottery shows the way people desperately cling to old traditions, regardless of how damaging they may be. In addition, it can show how callous many will act while staring at a gruesome situation, until they become the victims.
“The Lottery” written by Shirley Jackson in 1948 is a provoking piece of literature about a town that continues a tradition of stoning, yet they do not know why the ritual started in the first place. As Jackson sets the scene, the villagers seem ordinary; but seeing that winning the lottery is fatal, the villagers are then viewed murders. Disagreeing with the results of the lottery, Tessie Hutchinson is exposed to an external conflict between herself and the town. Annually on June 27th, the villagers gather to participate in the lottery. Every head of household, archetypally male, draws for the fate of their family, but Tessie protests as she receives her prize of a stoning after winning the lottery.
Tessie Hutchinson was upset, but when she complains, it is her husband Bill who tells her to shut up. Mrs. Dunbar said “Come on” and “Hurry up” as Mr. Dunbar told her “You’ll have to go ahead and I’ll catch up with you (Jackson 5).” Old Man Warner was heard saying, “Come on, come on, everyone (Jackson 5)”. In “The Lottery: Overview, Linda Wagner-Martin states “Clearly, opinion within the community is divided as to the usefulness and the efficacy—not to mention the humanity—of this lottery”. Everyone participated in the stoning, including her husband and three children. The stoning happened directly after the lottery drawing and was not a sad event as one would think it would be.
The most evident theme in “The Lottery” is the danger of blindly following tradition. Old Man Warner, the oldest man in the village, said, “‘Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon… There’s always been a lottery’”. Mrs. Adams tells him “‘Some places have already quit the lotteries”’. “‘Nothing but trouble in that,”’ Old Man Warn... ... middle of paper ... ...es, leading one to think women are meant to be housewives. It appears men outshine women in more ways than one (The Lottery).
After a long, breathless pause, Mr. Summers says, “All right, fellows (568).” The head of the family opens the slip of paper and the terrible fate awaits the winner. The winner was the Hutchinson family. Tessie Hutchinson instantly states, “I think we ought to start over… I tell you it wasn’t fair. You didn’t give him enough time to choose. Everybody saw that (571).” The reader may still not understand what the prize is or may be confused on why each family member now needs to draw a slip of paper from the old black
American poet W.D Snodgrass concurs that “[Paul] loves his mother so much that he is sure h... ... middle of paper ... ...e mother who chooses “money as [her] nexus of affection” (Snodgrass 206). A blatant result of her acquisitiveness, Hester represents the true destruction materialism has in “The Rocking-Horse Winner.” Undoubtedly, materialism poses a threat to an ever-growing society. With the creation of inconceivable luxuries each year, the green-eyed monster continues to consume humanity. Only by recognizing this faulty trait does humanity have a chance at fighting back. Lawrence successfully unmasks the destruction greed and materialism cause families and human beings in a “The Rocking-Horse Winner.” Perhaps now humanity has a chance to conquer one of the most damaging debaucheries of mankind.
Tessie Hutchinson, the major character in the story, is wife of Mr. Bill Hutchinson and also a mother of three siblings and a married daughter. Jackson presents Mrs. Hutchinson as a strong rebellious character. Mrs. Hutchinson plays two different roles in this story. She is excitedly participating in the lottery ceremony at the beginning but her character shifts when her husband picks the winning lottery of death for their family. Mrs. Hutchinson is presented as a blind follower of old tradition, a strong rebellious character and a selfish and careless person in the society.
It shows how cruel a town can be in protecting their tradition and rituals and how not even friendship matters. The second, being found in a collection of 50 short stories found after Jackson's death, shows how quickly a wife of many years can turn on her husband without warning. Both stories contained strong imagery and foreshadowing events leading up to the climax. "The Lottery" was written shortly after World War II, however it is unknown as to when Jackson wrote "What A Thought". "The Lottery" and "What A Thought" follow Shirley Jackson's usual scheme of shock value.
The author uses these names to foretell the winner’s prize, a vicious stoning from the villagers. The objects in the story represent spiritual and figurative meanings to the lottery. “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and ... ... middle of paper ... ...d the setting. “The Lottery” remains applicable in our culture today. The story in of itself epitomizes tradition, the undisputed traditions that survive not just in the culture of “The Lottery.” “The Lottery” strongly demonstrates the collective mindset of Mr. Hutchinson and the rest of the villagers who contributed in the stoning of his own wife.
Hutchinson said, and the people near her laugh” (142). Jackson manipulates her reader at this point by making us believe that Mrs. Hutchinson is all for the lottery. Interestingly, we come to find that other women in the town have similar behaviors as hers, “’There goes my old man,’ Mrs. Delacroix said” (142). Despite the fact that there are minor differences in their words of Tessie and Mrs. Delacroix, it becomes evident that their anxieties are of the same essence. Now, as the story progresses and the lottery begins it becomes more difficult to compare Mrs. Hutchinson to other people in the town after the first round where her family wins the lottery.