Though there are some noticeable differences between Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and Ursula Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, however the similarities in the two stories are clear. The themes of both short stories are centered on tradition and the sacrifice of one individual for the good all. In the “The Lottery” someone is stoned to death in order for the village to be prosper. While in the “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” the cities happiness solely depends on the suffering of a child whom has done nothing wrong. The point that both authors are trying to convey to the audience is; at what point do we as a society begin to question a way of doing things, question a tradition that has no real truth or reason behind it.
The two stories are told in different settings, in Jackson’s story the setting takes place in an otherwise normal, small town where one person is singled out by way of the lottery and is forced to sacrifice their own life for the rest of the community, “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed after it was decided that she would be the one to die (379). Old Man Warner claims “There’s always been a lottery,” the lottery is seen as a tradition, a tradition that has been going on for so long that the citizens do not even remember when or how it came to be (376). The participation of the annual lottery and the loss one individuals’ life is necessary or are assumed to be necessary in order to ensure good crops that year “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon” Old Man Warner says (376). Le Guin’s story takes place in a make believe, joyful city where the people of Omelas “happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the ...
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...f Omelas are not the ones who harm the child, the majority do not help him, they try and pretend like the child is not even there. Although there are some that do take notice of the injustice and decide to leave Omelas, “they leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back.” (384)
Despite the fact that each of these two stories take place completely different places, “The Lottery”, in a real town, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” in a fictional city and that the victims in both stories are murdered in different ways, they moral statement that the authors are saying is the same. Both authors point out that we as a society can be habitual in their behavior, whether because they do not know the reasons for why they do the things they do, like children, or because they feel helpless in standing up against what is wrong.
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