Real Life Connections
“The Lottery” was written in 1948 and published in “The New Yorker” while the author, Shirly Jackson, lived in a bucolic New England town, typical of the post-war American experience. In choosing this setting for her story, Ms. Jackson was commenting that the events in the story, or thei, “r symbolic equivalents, could happen anywhere. The traditions and rituals of real-life people could very well be leading to unspeakable violence and evil if not questioned and protested (Williams,1979). The well respected literary magazine, “The New Yorker”, published the story and received hundreds of letters from readers and critics regarding “The Lottery”. It received a response that had never been seen before by “The New Yorker”. The tone of many of these criticisms was anger at being misled by the seeming normalcy of the characters and their willing participation in the ritualistic outcome. They objected to being asked to accept that their neighbors and friends, and even themselves and their families, could be lead by “tradition” to such actions (Nebeker, 1974).
Post war Americans were still putting their lives back together when this story was published. The horrors of war were still fresh on their minds and yet the world was at peace. The economy was shifting from all out military production to a more stable and sustainable one. As the worlds only remaining Superpower, America was enjoying the optimism and security bought and paid for by the war. “The Lottery” made many very uncomfortable. The symbols used in the story, including its location, the names of some of the characters, the need to hold the lottery in Spring to insure a succesful growing season, and the importance of family relationships all seemed safe and familiar to readers. Their initial objection to “The Lottery” came from recognizing these symbols as trappings of their own lives, and the unease that anything like it could ever happen here (Yarmove, 1994).
"The Lottery" was written in 1948 and published in "The New Yorker" while the author, Shirly Jackson, lived in a bucolic New England town, typical of the post-war American experience. In choosing this setting for her story, Ms. Jackson was commenting that the events in the story, or thei, "r symbolic equivalents, could happen anywhere.…
The Connection of “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson with Modern Day World and Other Works of Art
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I think this story applies to life in the United States, 70 years after it was written, because of today’s controversial politics and republican platform. In the Lottery, Old man Warner – a survivor of many lotteries- bitterly rejects reform and complains that “It’s not the way it used to be… People ain’t the way they used to be.” This is one of those continual complaints you hear from Republicans and other varieties of social conservatives (in my opinion). For example, it’s even been portrayed and applied today in our president’s slogan: “Make America Great Again.” That is, make it the way that it used to be; but, some people never stop to think about or complain about all the senseless systematic violence that Trump perpetuated – such as oppressing women and immigrants. As well as in “The Lottery” the villagers mindlessly follow Mr. Summers and his tradition of the lottery with no questions or complaints.
“The Lottery” reminded me of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” because both stories have a dystopian society, where people are controlled by an authoritative power/other individual. Although “The Lottery” and “Fahrenheit 451” have very different story lines, they are both based on tradition and how people are trapped in the ways of tradition. “In Fahrenheit 451,” the characters are trapped in the tradition and customs of burning books and not being able to read them- especially the fireman, such as the main character Guy Montag. While in “The Lottery,” everyone is stuck in the tradition of the lottery which results in one person getting killed every year. All the characters, in both stories, truly believe that it is always been done so it must continue. They do not stop to think about the custom and its cruelty or bother to say anything about it, so the people blindly just go with it.
A play I connected “The Lottery” to was Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” because both stories emphasized the idea of whether the individual or community holds greater importance. In “The Lottery,” Bill Hutchinson was singled out for drawing a paper with a black mark. In “The Crucible,” Tituba is singled out and accused for engaging with the devil. This shows that in both stories the conflicts began with an innocent individual in the community being singled out and betrayed for selfish reasons. Moreover, no one stands up for the individuals being scapegoated because people believe that the community is more important. The resolution of both stories ends with someone innocent dying. In the lottery, innocent Tessie is stoned to death for the harvest. In the crucible, innocent John also dies by hanging because he refused to confess to witchcraft. Both deaths were unjust, cruel, and a tragedy. In addition, “The Lottery” and “The Crucible” have a similar theme of hypocrisy as shown throughout the text and plot of the stories.
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