The Complicity of Premeditated Sacrifice

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The Lottery and The Rocking Horse Winner both share a common link. In the Lottery Tessie Hutchinson is sacrificed according to an ancient tradition to ensure an abundant harvest. In The Rocking Horse Winner, young Paul sacrificed his energy to secure capital gain for his family, a pursuit which eventually results in his death. Both Tessie Hutchinson and Paul were sacrificed; one was an unwilling subject while the other was acting as a martyr for his family’s financial security. In exploring these stories we can detect the similarities in addition to viable metaphoric, historical, and plausible explanations that are reflected in modern society.
In June of 1948 Shirley Jackson had an epiphany while thinking about the book her husband showed her on ancient ritual human sacrifice and in two hours her psychological horror story The Lottery was born (Oppenheimer, 1989). In The Lottery the protagonist Tessie Hutchinson is flustered because she subconsciously forgot what day it was thus delaying the inevitable by finishing her household task. Her deliberate procrastination sets her apart as an outcast. The fact that the Hutchinson family was planning to relocate to another village, which Tessie referred to as more civilized, demonstrated her abhorrence with this ancient blind ritual of violence. Such a tradition of ancient human sacrifice would with certainty create terror in the hearts of those who feel it a violation of humanity, yet unhealthy self-sacrifice can be the culprit to an untimely death as well.
In The Rocking Horse Winner young Paul felt sympathy for his beautiful mother Hester who was frustrated regarding the family’s financial state and status quo. Being a good son, Paul made a conscious choice and ...

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...onents of godliness and human decency for a fairy tale existence. A Spiritual Worldview creates a balance in this world of physicality bringing us into harmony with God’s purpose.

Works Cited

Jackson, Shirley. (1948 June 26). The Lottery. The New Yorker, Retrieved from
Kennedy, X. J. and Dana Gioia. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. 7th ed. (Custom). Boston: Pearson, 2013. pp. 234-245, 250-259.
Lawrence, D.H. (2014). A & E: The Biography Channel Website. New York, New York. Retrieved from
Lawrence, D.H. (1966). The Rocking Horse Winner. Woodstock, IL: Dramatic Publishing.
Oppenheimer, Judy. Private Demons: The Life of Shirley Jackson. Random House: Ballantine Books, 1989 May 27. p. 12.

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