Individuality vs Community in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery Essay

Individuality vs Community in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery Essay

Length: 1732 words (4.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Individuality versus Community in The Lottery

 
The works of Shirley Jackson tend to the macabre because she typically unveils the hidden side of human nature in her short stories and novels.  She typically explores the darker side of human nature.  Her themes are wide-ranging and border on the surreal though they usually portray everyday, ordinary people.  Her endings are often not a resolution but rather a question pertaining to society and individuality that the reader must ask himself or herself.  Jackson's normal characters often are in possession of an abnormal psyche.  Children are portrayed as blank slates ready to learn the ways of the world from society.  However, adults have a hidden side already formed and lurking beneath the perceived normality of the established social order.  We see this best in Jackson's most famous short story, The Lottery.  Jackson's uses many elements of fiction to demonstrate how human nature can become desensitized to the point of mob murder of a member of their own community.  One of the ways she does this is through character.  While the shocking reason behind the lottery and the gruesome prize for its winner are not received until the ending, the characters come back to haunt us for their desensitized behavior earlier in the story.  For example, the children in the beginning of the story innocently gather stones as normal children might, yet their relish in doing so becomes macabre once we find out the purpose for which that are collecting them "Bobby Martin hard already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones; Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroy...eventually made a great pile of stones in one ...


... middle of paper ...


...re many similarities when it comes to technique, characterization, themes, and ideologies based on the author's own beliefs and life experiences.  However, we also see that it appears the author herself often struggles with the issue of being herself and expressing her own individuality, or obeying the rules, regulations and mores of a society into which she was born an innocent child, one who by nature of her sex was deemed inferior to men who controlled the definition of the norms.  We see this kind of environment as repressive and responsible for abnormal psyches in the plots of many of her works.

WORKS  CITED

Jackson, S.  The Lottery.  (Internet) 1-8.

Jackson, S.  We Have Always Lived In The Castle.  New York, Penguin, 1962.

Mukamel, E.  The Irrepressible Individual In The Works Of Shirley Jackson.  http://www.askjeeves.com,  May 13, 2004, 1-7. 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Lottery By Shirley Jackson Essay

- The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, is a short story about an annual lottery draw in a small town. The story sets place in a small town in New England. Every year a lottery is held, in which one person is to be randomly chosen to be stoned to death by the people in the village. The lottery has been practiced for over seventy years by the townspeople. By using symbolism, Jackson uses names, objects, and the setting to conceal the true meaning and intention of the lottery. The names of each character hold significant meanings to the lottery....   [tags: The Lottery, Stoning, Short story, Symbol]

Powerful Essays
733 words (2.1 pages)

Symbolism in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Essay

- In literature, symbols are often used to deepen the meaning of a story or to convey an idea indirectly. In “The Lottery”, Shirley Jackson uses symbolism to reveal the annual ritual that happens to be called the lottery, and the consequences of unquestioned traditions. Most people when drawing the lottery were more concerned with stoning one to death and their beliefs rather than the value of the human life that they were about to destroy. From the title of the story, to the ambiance preceding this ritual, one could assume that this will result in someone winning something, but with the usage symbolism, Jackson is able to use names, objects, and the setting to conceal the true meaning and in...   [tags: sacrifice, ritual, religion]

Powerful Essays
713 words (2 pages)

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Essay

- Individual in Society Can one individual change a large group of people. Can the effort of one person be enough to break up a faulty tradition practicing by a society. In most cases the answer would be ‘yes’ and in some ‘no’. Many individuals try and succeed but many fail just like the main character Tessie Hutchinson in Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery”. When someone hears the word “lottery”, he or she may think that someone will be rewarded with prize. But “The Lottery” By Shirley Jackson is different than what one thinks....   [tags: tradition, society]

Powerful Essays
764 words (2.2 pages)

Symbolism and Irony in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Essay examples

- “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, is a short story about a once a year lottery that is performed in a small town. The story takes place in a town in New England. In this particular village during the lottery, one person is chosen at random to be stoned to death by the people. For nearly a century the lottery has been performed. This reoccurring event is not looked down upon and is accepted by the townspeople. By using symbolism, Jackson uses names, objects and the setting to mask irony of the lottery....   [tags: stonning, religious, ritual]

Powerful Essays
674 words (1.9 pages)

Everyday Use, by Alice Walker and The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson Essays

- In comparing and contrasting the short stories “Everyday Use” written by Alice Walker and “The Lottery” written by Shirley Jackson, tradition is carried on throughout the generations. Symbols are often used in these short stories to convey these messages of tradition and heritage. Rebellious characters are also found in both of the stories, trying to alter traditions to meet their own personal expectations. However, in contrast “The Lottery” is a much more barbaric story that does not reveal the cruelty until the end of the story....   [tags: symbols, tradition, short stories]

Powerful Essays
709 words (2 pages)

Essay about Utopia and Dystopia in Harrison Bergeron and The Lottery

- Utopia and Dystopia are themes that explore the substantial extents of deceiving ascendancy and contrive an impelling illusion of a ‘perfect‘ society. Utopia is described as a place, state, or condition that is ideally perfect in respect of politics, laws, customs, and conditions while a dystopia, or a negative utopia, is a society characterized as an illusion of a perfect society maintained through oppressive societal control, in which exploits into an exaggerated worst-case scenario. The short stories, Harrison Bergeron, and The Lottery, are both literary examples imparted around a utopian society....   [tags: Harrison Bergeron, The Lottery]

Powerful Essays
1343 words (3.8 pages)

Theme Analysis of Short Stories The Lottery and Harrison Bergeron by Jackson and Vonnegut

- Shirley Jacksons short story The lottery and Kurt Vonnegut’s short story, Harrison Bergeron are both dystopian texts. They demonstrate a way of life that violates our sense or rightfulness but are found acceptable and ordinary to the characters. A dystopian world is often propagandized as being a utopia and has a futuristic totalitarian or authoritarian government that exerts complete control over the public which results in the loss of individuality and freedom. Even though both texts have entirely dissimilar concepts the reader can still recognise the depraved and immoral lives the characters believe are essential to their way of life....   [tags: dystopia, equality, immoral]

Powerful Essays
1119 words (3.2 pages)

The Lottery, By Shirley Jackson Essay

- Jackson’s The Lottery Imagine year after year being forced to participate in an event that you did not accept all. You are doing it because everyone else is, because it is tradition. This is exactly what happens in “The Lottery”. The purpose of this essay is to explain the literary elements of this short story. Also I will explain how similar it is the famous “Hunger Games”. "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, is far from boring. It starts off at what seems to be a nice, sunny, summer day and families are in the time square....   [tags: Short story, The Lottery, Shirley Jackson]

Powerful Essays
1312 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

- "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, is far from boring. It starts off at what seems to be a nice, sunny, summer day and families are in the time square. First we see that children are playing picking up stones and collecting them, putting them in piles. Then we see the men looking about and talking among themselves and women coming along to stand with husbands. By this time, one would think that the lottery is a great thing, it was being conducted by Mr. Summers who was in charge of many activities in the village....   [tags: Short story, The Lottery, Shirley Jackson]

Powerful Essays
1242 words (3.5 pages)

Analysis of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery Essay

- In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” the theme of the story is dramatically illustrated by Jackson’s unique tone. Once a year the villagers gather together in the central square for the lottery. The villagers await the arrival of Mr. Summers and the black box. Within the black box are folded slips of paper, one piece having a black dot on it. All the villagers then draw a piece of paper out of the box. Whoever gets the paper with the black dot wins. Tessie Hutchinson wins the lottery. Everyone then closes in on her and stones her to death....   [tags: Shirley Jackson, The Lottery]

Powerful Essays
506 words (1.4 pages)