Thursday, December 2, 2010

"The Lottery" by Shirely Jackson

1. What is a "lottery"? How does the title lead you to expect something very different from what the story represents?

In Jackson's short story, a lottery is much different than the present-day definition of one. Whereas winning the lottery today is seen as lucky and exciting, the lottery in her story is quite the opposite. "Winning" the lottery in this small village means that that person who draws the marked slip of paper is the one who gets stoned. The villagers believe that they have to continue this tradition in order to produce good crops each year. As Old Man Warner says, "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon" (page 268). In this way, I viewed the villagers as primitive and somewhat barbaric. By sacrificing someone to their rain god, they believed that they were ensuring a bountiful harvest. Because of this, I viewed the characters as stuck in an unrefined and rudimentary mindset.

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