Identity in Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and Isaac Babel’s My First Goose

Identity in Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and Isaac Babel’s My First Goose

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Although the concept of identity is recurrent in our daily lives, it has interpreted in various ways. In general, identity means how one sees himself/herself and others around in order to distinguish himself/herself as different. David Snow differentiates between the ‘individual’ and ‘collective’ identity as “personal identities are the attributes and meaning attributed to oneself by the actor, they are self-designations and self-attributions regarded as personally distinctive.” (Snow 2) On the other hand, the “collective identities attributed or imputed to others in an attempt to situate them in social space. They are grounded in established social roles.”(Snow 2) This research paper aims at examining the role of ‘collective’ identity that is formed on the expenses of the ‘individual’ identity and how this leads to physical and psychological repression in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and Isaac Babel’s “My First Goose.”
“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson opens on a warm June day in unnamed village where people are waiting for the annual event which is the lottery. This ‘tradition’ is also held in other surrounding towns for a long time. Everyone in the town, including the children, participates in this event, yet not all of them are satisfied about it. Meanwhile some people show their dissatisfaction, yet they are unable to criticize this act directly. During the process of the lottery, which does not take more than couple of hours, some of the characters such as Mrs. Dunbar , Mr. and Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Hutchinson question the lottery, yet they are not voicing their protest clearly. This vagueness in showing dissatisfaction is related to the idea that most of the people in the town are accepting this ‘outdated’ trad...


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...looked at as he is the literate outsider who knows how to write and read , yet this presupposed privilege later on makes Liutov as minor instead of being superior . During the story , Liutov gives up gradually his academic superiority and in other words gives up his ‘individual’ identity in order to be part of this solidarity and collectivism that shape the Cossacks society.



Works Cited

Babel, I., W. A. Morison, and Lionel Trilling. Collected Stories. New York: Meridian Fiction, 1960. Print.
Jackson, Shirley. The Lottery. New York: Popular Library, 1949. Print.
Polletta, Francesca and James Jasper. “Collective Identity and Social Movements.” Annual Review of Sociology 27.1 (2001): 283–305. Print.
Snow, David. “Collective Identity and Expressive Forms.” University of California, Irvine eScholarship Repository 26.7 (2009) . Print.



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