The Lottery

The lottery
The popular opinion in society is always the opinion of the majority of society.Due to this simple fact, minorities often are ignored when they attempt to voice their opinions and are sometimes scrutinized for it.In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird many such examples exist, as well as in The Grapes of Wrath and the short story The Lottery.All three of these works, in different methods show to some extent that the voices of minorities are often just whispers among a roaring society.

Marginal members of society are particularly mocked and maimed.Tom Robinson for example, from To Kill a Mockingbird, a black man accused of raping a white woman is convicted even though circumstantial evidence is all but presented.His lawyer, Atticus Finch describes the case in this quote, “In our courts when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins.They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.”There is a sense of support for the African-Americans present in the novel too.Mr. Dolphus Raymond states his opinions of discrimination to Dill perfectly, “You aren’t thin-hided, it just makes you sick, doesn’t it?”Atticus also tells his children some very good advice for the future, “As you grow older you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it-whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.”
Women, as well as children, although they are not a minority, they are treated the same way.In Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery they schedule a public stoning every year for June 27, and decide who to stone through a process of drawing slips of paper for families and then for individuals of that family.Women and children are no exception to the rule.They draw too.When Tessie Hutchinson begins to object to the manner of the drawing, she is cut off in this quote, “Suddenly, Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers, ‘You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted.I saw you. It wasn’t fair!”Be a good sport, Tessie,’ Mrs. Delacroix called, and Mrs. Graves said, ‘All of us took the same chance.”Shut up, Tessie,’ Bill Hutchinson said.”Tessie Hutchinson is told to shut up by her own husband! Mrs. Hutchinson detests the lottery and does so until her death, as shown in this quote, ‘It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,’ Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.”This is a direct disregard to hear her opinions and her ideas.Children are also shown this discrimination in Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.After saying “Hey” to her aging neighbor, Scout is chastised by Mrs. Dubose rather sharply.Mrs. Dubose replies to Scout, “Don’t you say hey to me, you ugly girl!You say good afternoon, Mrs. Dubose!”This only reinforces the fact that young people are discriminated against as much as minorities.

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In Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, this same disrespect is shown to the “Okies”, as they are called.The Joads upon arrival at their destination in southern California, they find that their paradise is due south of heaven.Locals call them dirty and stupid, and reject them.Even local bums reject them as in this quote, “No, looka here.I’ll come for ya tonight.Maybe I’m wrong.There’s stools aroun’ all a time.I’m takin’ a chancet, an’ I got a kid, too.But I’ll come for ya.An’ if ya see a cop, why, you’re a goddamn Okie, see?”The Joads are left out and scrutinized, not for being a minority, but because they are foreigners in their own country.

The three works, all in different genres of literature, all show a similar message within them.Minorities are rarely accepted and heard out.Even for the slightest reason, these people are rejected, and scrutinized.Yet they manage to survive, because they are the people and they go on.

The Lottery

When you hear the word lottery, you probably think of winning a large sum of money before being stoned to death. ” The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson brings this horrible idea to life. While the overall mood of the story depicts a typical day in a small rural town, through great use of imagery and irony, one is set up for an unusual ending. Shirley Jackson uses the element of surprise. The way of the story ends is unlike anyone could predict.
The main object of The Lottery is the action of the lottery itself and perhaps the slips of paper. The actions that make the story are all connected to the preparation for, drawing of, and consequences of the lottery. Mr. Summers treats the lottery with cold precision as if this duty was as normal as all the other duties he performs for the town. The Townspeople respect the lottery and actually appear to fear it ever so slightly. Mrs. Hutchinson when faced with the possibility of winning the drawing panics and tries everything she can think of to decrease her chance of winning or avoiding it altogether.
Mrs. Hutchinson is the main female character of the story and is probably the strongest example of a weak, powerless, scared woman in all the stories we reviewed. She is the last to show for the drawing, she disputes the results of both drawings once completed, and she makes every attempt to lower her chance of winning by drawing her married daughters into her families drawing. Mrs. Hutchinson shows a complete lack of inner strength and reveals her cowardice and uncaring relationship as shown in her actions. The underlying current of evil would have to be the actual barbarism inherent in the lottery itself. The idea of stoning a person to death for any reason in our society is cruel and unusual punishment and sickening to most. The fact that the stoning is not for any crime but for tradition makes it all that more unpalatable. The apparent disdain expressed by the villagers is also quite disturbing in that they treat the lottery as a normal daily event taking no time to fully appreciate the actions they are about to perform. It is clear; we don’t make our own decisions, and authority influences it.
As Suspense in the Lottery plays the most the first hint that something strange is happening is brought to our attention in the second paragraph, after Jackson describes the summer morning, she alludes to the children gathering in the Village Square, but they are acting quite strange. “Bobby Martin had a already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys”. (Text, 782). The first questions we must ask is why are the boys pilling stones will play an important role in the final outcome.
The Lottery conveys its message through obedience. The Lottery plays the most important role making, even though short, is well developed and seems prolonged. The Village’s powerful men are Mr. Summers, Mr. Grave and Mr. Martin. These three most powerful men who control the town, economically as well as politically, also happen to administer the Lottery. It is no coincidence that the Lottery takes place in the village square between the post office and the bank, two buildings of authority that represent government and finance.


In Doris Lesssing essay ” Group Minds”, the comment ” what is dangerous is not the belonging to a group or groups, but not understanding the social laws that govern groups and govern us”, is an amazing comment. As people, we tend to engage ourselves into groups, not knowing the true essence of that group. Meaning, the dangerous issue is having no knowledge of what to expect. As we take a look back into Milgram experiment, we see that the idea of participating in an experiment seemed simple, however it turned out to be the most painful experience. One can become so naive into thinking just because an authority figure is present; you have no choice but to obey

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