Sacrifice in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence

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The point of view of tradition in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is the normal once of year gathering on the townspeople. This gathering is held in order to pick, via a lottery drawing, to decide who in the town is going to be stoned to death. “The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock; in some towns there were so many people the lottery took two days and had started on June 26th, but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, and the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o’clock in morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.” (Kennedy & Gioia, 2013, pp. 251). The fact that the people gather and discuss everyday issue prior to the start of the lottery all point to the blind tradition of selecting some to be stoned to death.

The author also points out in her story that no one knew when or why the tradition of the lottery began. Even not knowing Tessie Hutchinson, at first had no issues with the annual event. It was only when she “won” the lottery that she developed the point of view that was bias or judgmental. Mrs. Hutchinson protests the process of the lottery and the town’s methods, “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.” (Kennedy & Gioia, 2013, pp. 256). The interpretation of the stoning is that the town quantifies the reason to murder to satisfy the harvest.

The point of view of materialism in the Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence is the seen from inside the mind of child in the story, Paul. “He went off by himself, vaguely, in a childish way, seeking for the clue to “luck,” Absorbed, taking n...

... middle of paper ... horse, her desires are never satisfied.

In conclusion, both short stories you can see that they both arrive at a sacrifice of the protagonist’s from different paths. The Lottery is from the view point of blind tradition and The Rocking Horse Winner is from the view point of materialism, the love of money. Although both stories are similar with sacrifice as the end result, the sacrifices are for to completely different circumstances. Tessie Hutchinson’s sacrifice is to satisfy the harvest, which benefits the town. Paul’s sacrifice is to satisfy his mother happiness, which benefits an individual.



Kennedy, X. J., & Gioia, D. (2013). Symbol. In J. Terry, K. Glynn & D. Campion (Eds.), Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing (7 ed., pp. 234-245; pp. 250-256). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.
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