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

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

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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. The societies portrayed in both texts are illusions of utopian worlds, even though the reader views the characters lifestyle to be revolting, dehumanized and sickening. The authors also caution the readers of the extreme dangers associated with the blind acceptance of their lifestyle just because of tradition and society’s acceptance.
Firstly, the societies in The Lottery and Harrison Bergeron are illusions of perfect utopian worlds; the authors establish settings that are perceived as faultless by the reader. In Harrison Bergeron Vonnegut sets the scene by presenting the reader with a perfect world, where everyone is equal, a world without rivalry, a world of complete harmony and peace. This creates an impression of a perfect utopian world where ‘nobody [is] smarter’, ‘nobody is better looking’, and ‘nobody is stronger… than anybody else’. Vonnegut’s use of repetition emphasis the idea of a utopian setting which causes competing ideas to become subordinated; this encourages the reader to become relaxed to the idea of equality. By setting the scene as utopian Vonnegut increases the impact on the ...


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...lottery’ indicates blind acceptance and a lack of understanding of the need to change to benefit and improve society. Through the use of characterisation the authors are able incorporate the idea that to move forward in society change needs to be undertaken.
Vonnegut and Jackson, through the use of well written short stories, have managed to address concerning issues in today’s societies. Through the use of Harrison Bergeron Kurt Vonnegut was able to address the growing issue of equality, this is a very important issue as many people in modern societies view the idea of equality to be incredible. Shirley Jackson through The Lottery addressed the concerning issue of societies blindly following religions and traditions due to superstitions and the unwillingness to change. These dystopian texts demonstrate the inevitable outcome these problems will eventually cause.

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