Marxist Criticism on The Lottery

November 22, 2011
“It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,’ Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her” (Jackson). Born on December fourteenth in nineteen-sixteen, Shirley Jackson is an author, U.S. novelist, and short story writer (“Shirley Jackson Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story - Biography.com”). Jackson being the ‘master’ of gothic horror is best known for her short story The Lottery (“Shirley Jackson Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story - Biography.com”). The story, The Lottery, is about this lottery that all the villagers participate in, the lottery is a tradition that the villagers have. The end of the story has a shocking twist where the ‘winner’ of the lottery ends up losing because what happens when they win. The winner is stoned. In the short story The Lottery, Jackson shows how social classes, or the lack thereof, have an effect on the characters and the events within the town.

To begin, in the story The Lottery, Jackson shows how social classes, or the lack thereof, have an effect on characters. In a lot of different cultures and religions the male is always the head of the family. In the story all the men represent their family as the head of the family. Proof of this can be found when the author writes, “Horaces’ not but sixteen yet. Mrs. Dunbar said regretfully. Guess I gotta fill in for the old man this year” (Jackson). Mr. Summers the town’s coal factory owner is the Official of the Lottery so he has to ask that question because men are always the head of the family and are looked upon to represent their family. Mrs. Dunbar’s husband cannot because he is sick. When talking of social classes there is sometimes the view of men being higher than women in power, authority, and rank. You can see this in the story when a child doesn’t listen to his mother but then listens to his father. Support of this can be found in the text where the author, Shirley Jackson, writes, “Soon the women, standing by their husbands, began to call their children, and the children came reluctantly, having to be called four or five times. Bobby Martin ducked under his mothers grasping hand and ran, laughing back to the pile of stones. His father spoke up sharply, and Bobby came quickly and took his place between his father and his oldest brother” (Jackson). When the mother tried to grab Bobby and told him to come stand by his father Bobby did not listen. Only when the father spoke up did Bobby listen.

Furthermore, in the story, The Lottery, Jackson shows how social classes, or the lack thereof, have an effect on the events within the town. Occasionally social classes affect the way things are done. In the story social classes affect the way the lottery is done. Textual support can be found in the story where the author states, “…I’ll read the names-heads of families first- and the men come up and take a paper out of the box” (Jackson). Because the men are the head of the family and ranked higher up in status than the women they are chosen to represent their families in the lottery. Therefore, they are the ones to draw from the lottery box. When it comes to life and death social class is gone and not important. In the story, the Hutchinson’s win the lottery and then there is a secondary lottery to see which member of the family will be stoned. To support that this is true an example can be found in the text where the author says, “There’s, Bill, Jr., and Nancy, and little Dave. And Tessie and me” (Jackson). One person from the family will get stoned and the social classes no longer matter.

To conclude, in Jackson’s short story, The Lottery, it can be observed on how social classes, or the lack thereof, have an effect on the characters and the events within the town. From this the reader can learn how social classes have an effect on the villagers and events in the short story, The Lottery. This is significant because the readers can learn how social classes affect the world outside of this short story.








Work Cited
Jackson, Shirley. The Lottery. Print
"Shirley Jackson Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story - Biography.com." Famous Biographies & TV Shows - Biography.com. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <http://www.biography.com/people/shirley-jackson-9351425>.





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