The Lottery

April 14, 2011
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“I think we ought to start over,” Mrs. Hutchinson said, as quietly as she could. “I tell you it wasn’t fair. You didn’t give him time enough to choose. Everybody saw that” (Jackson). In a small town of three hundred people, they conduct an annual ritual known as “The Lottery”. The aspects of mystery and cruelty are brought from her personal life. Shirley Jackson lived an uneasy lifestyle and possessed many psychological problems. In the short story “The Lottery”, Jackson shows how positions of power are important to the characters that possess them and have consequences for other characters.
Firstly, Jackson clearly explains who is in charge and possesses the most power. For example, “The lottery was conducted as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program by Mr. Summers, who had time and energy to devote to civic activities. He was a round-faced, jovial man and he ran the coal business, and people were sorry for him because he had no children and his wife was a scold“(Jackson).This shows that Mr. Summers conducts “The Lottery” and has the most power in the town. It also talks about how he has nothing else better to do than control The Lottery. Another example of power is when a woman draws for her family. “Me. I guess,” a woman said, and Mr. Summers turned to look at her. “Wife draws for her husband.” Mr. Summers said. “Don’t you have a grown boy to do it for you, Janey?” Although Mr. Summers and everyone else in the village knew the answer perfectly well, it was the business of the official of the lottery to ask such questions formally. Mr. Summers waited with an expression of polite interest while Mrs. Dunbar answered” (Jackson).

Furthermore, the aspect of consequences is shown with Mrs. Hutchinson. “Be a good sport Tesse,” Mrs. Delacroix called, and Mrs. Graves said, “All of us took the same chance.”(Jackson). Mrs. Hutchinson complains how she thinks the drawings are unfair. Many of the villagers disagree with her and say that it is fair. It is clear the Mr. Summers has the most power and whatever he says goes. Another example,
“Seventy-seventh year I been in the lottery,” Old Man Warner said as he went through the crowd. “Seventy-seventh time” (Jackson). Many of the older people in the town complained about the drawings. They thought it was unfair and wanted the old box among those people were the Hutchinson family. Mr. and Mrs. Hutchinson both drew the marked sheet. The villagers grab stones and throw them at Mrs. Hutchinson.

To conclude, in the short story “The Lottery”, Jackson shows how positions of power are important to the characters that possess them and have consequences for other characters. This story is significant because it discusses the secret and sinister underside of a small town.

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xxtmrwntbtrxx said...
May 5, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I agree that in such a small town power is a very important aspect. With not many residents, there is not much to control, but that one small town can easily be taken down.

Another type of criticism that could have possibly worked is racial/cultural criticism. The Lottery is a tradition which is part of their culture which can be analyzed through this criticism.

I would read this story based on this review. It seems like an interesting and captivating story. The author describes... (more »)

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