Jackson’s “The Lottery” is a great example of how an author undermines her
When we hear the word lottery, we think of all the grandiose, materialistic
things we could buy with the.
Little do we actually know that Jackson’s version of “winning” is a lot darker
than just receiving the monetary reward. Jackson
creates a disposition for the reader, describing small town people that summer
day as clear with a fresh warmness in the air and blindfolded by the respect
for tradition and culture.
Jackson gives the readers a welcoming environment by providing a title that
would make the story seem straightforward and rewarding but definitely is not
the case in the final outcome of the story.
As the story leads on, the reader will then be able to realize the mysterious
characteristic of the towns actual tradition. It becomes clear that this story is full of
horrifying possibilities that make us see the factual horror of “The Lottery”
by Shirley Jackson.
describes the lottery as among the traditions of the town that is performed
annually. A tradition that will be upheld by the people. On this day the belief is that carrying
on the tradition of the lottery will bring sanctuary to their crops and that
their corn will suffer and it would be catastrophic to their village if they
don’t uphold this tradition. The
town promotes harmony and unity but yet it is mandatory that every member of
the town participates in the lottery. The winner of the lottery ironically is
the person who is sacrificed and gets stoned to death by the rest of the
villagers as a form of ceremonial praise to their God. In this story, one of the villagers
Tessie, has picked the paper with the black mark from the box and then is stoned
to death. The
people in the village see this performance as the norm, since this is their
tradition; to sacrifice one person on a yearly basis for the nutrition of their
corn and of their crops. The circumstance makes a terrible scene to the reader
since by mention of a lottery, one expects that the winner receives an
extravagant prize. However, the reality is far grimmer as the winner receives a
sacrificial death, by way of an unseeingly, and unspeakable tradition (Yildirim
In “The Lottery”,
numerous examples portray the devotedness of the community as a result of the
lottery. For example, “Soon the men began to gather. surveying their own
children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes. They stood together,
away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they
smiled rather than laughed. The women, wearing faded house dresses and
sweaters, came shortly after their menfolk. They greeted one another and
exchanged bits of gossip as they went to join their husbands” (Jackson 2009). Not only does the tradition mark a
day of socialism and joy to the town, but also marks an important day of the
sacrificial submission which secures the growth of the towns’ crops. Every person
in the community praises this day and willingly looks forward to it with enthusiasm.
Once the sacrifice is made and the marked paper is picked, they are confident
that their crops will flourish well and look forward to a feast once they produce.
Jackson shows that anybody who views the tradition of the lottery as evil, was
ignorant and would be held accountable if anything went wrong in the town.
Jacksons story of “The
Lottery” tricks her readers because of the distinction between the parts of
normal day to day small community ideal life, vice the horrific reality of what
“The Lottery” really means and represents. The
manner of the story rapidly changes once the readers acknowledge what the
purpose of the lottery truly is.
There is something exceptionally cryptic and unusual about a town that leaves
the reader with many inquiries regarding why it is how it is, and how it got to
be to be this way. Jackson
leaves her viewers with a great theme that can be useful to any culture at any period
Ursula Leguin’s “The Wife’s Story”, Is another
great example of how the author undermines the reader and manipulates your
will make you think the complete opposite of what you want to believe. Not until the end of the story you
will actual learn that you have been misled from the start. The
perspective of her husband’s changing in character and his everyday habits deliberates
the differences in the type of person he is when the story starts and how he starts
to change as the story leads on. Le
Guin’s drive for writing this is to give her readers a diverting mystery as she
discusses the order of actions that leads to the death of her husband and the
transformation he goes through. Le Guins manner of the story changes sporadically
throughout, moving from a shadowy manner as she talked about how she didn’t
know what could be happening to her husband when she spoke of him in the
beginning of the story. This all leading
“The Wife’s Story” to the downfall of horrifying actions as the story continues.
Wife’s Story begins with the wife describing what she cherishes most about her
husband, how they met and how she had come to love him. “He was always gentle. If you’d have seen him
playing with the children, anybody who saw him with the children would have
known that there wasn’t any bad in him, not one mean bone” (Kennedy 2008). The setting comes across like a
normal human family and nothing appears to be out of the ordinary. She tells how they moved in together,
forcing her sister to move out. She describes
their kids they shared together.
The first twist was when one of the children was terrified of her Father. “He
come in and she got scared?looking,
stiff, with her eyes wide, and then she began to cry and try to hide behind me.
She didn’t yet talk plain but she was saying over and over, “Make it go away!
Make it go away!” (Kennedy 2008). This showed that the child was scared of this
change he was going through, which was him actually turning into a
werewolf. Later in the story the wife
explains that the husband was looked up to and had such a beautiful voice. “He
had such a beautiful voice, and he’d lead off strong, and the others following
and joining in, high voices and low. It brings the shivers on me now to think
of it, hearing it, nights when I’d stayed home from meeting when the children were
babies — the singing coming up through the trees there, and the moonlight,
summer nights, the full moon shining” (Kennedy 2008). Before you get to the true ending
and hear this you just think that he’s a great singer and that could be why he
But once you read the story you can see that he comes off as the alpha male
wolf and has the loudest howl that the rest of the pack follows.
Leguin leads us to think
that her husband’s changes are signs of infidelity. For example, “So it
happened that way maybe three times or four. He’d come back late and worn out,
and pretty near cross for one so sweet?tempered
not wanting to talk about it. I
figured everybody got to bust out now and then, and nagging never helped
anything. But it did begin to worry me. Not so much that
he went, but that he come back so tired and strange. Even, he smelled strange” (Kennedy
2008). This comes across like
the husband is out all night and tired when he comes home. These are normal
signs that don’t necessarily mean he would be unfaithful but they are the norm
for people who lie and cheat. Seems insecurities bring up suspicion even in the
best relationships like the one the Wife describes them to have. “What is that, those smells on you?
All over you!” And he said, “I don’t know,” real short, and made like he was
But he went down when he thought I wasn’t noticing, and washed and washed
himself. But those smells stayed in his hair, and in our bed, for days” (Kennedy
2008). All these signs lead the reader to believe that this story is about a
loving husband that starts to change and shows of lying. It brings us to
sympathize with the wife and believe that the husband is a “monster”. When the
story unfolds and we see that the husbands change was out of his control, it
makes us sympathize with the husband.
The Wife’s Story is a
great story that reverses our minds.
What makes this story a perfect example of how the author undermines us
throughout much of the story, is how the reader believes the story is about a
human family. She suggests that the father is abusing the children and the
struggles of a husband and wife relationship. Their life in a small town in
near the woods and the sister bond. But in the end, she undermines our
expectations and forces us to question what we are thinking and causing the
reader to go back and re-read the story again.
The two stories
described above are prime examples how an author may use commonly used words to
describe a totally uncommon or strange situation. In “The Lottery”, the town uses the lottery
system to choose a person that would suffer an unimaginable death to some way
benefit the communities’ crops. This in
today’s society would seem insane to even suggest. Compared once again to “The Wife’s Story”,
words like, husband, hard worker, and lodge meetings, suggest that the
character being described is a person, because those words seem unique only to
humans. When referring to animals, mate
may be more appropriate, rather than husband.
Since husband refers to the male in a religious, institution
arrangement. The two stories do a very
good job at referring to normally used words that would have one specific
meaning, to describe a completely different setting. Causing the reader to look further into the
story and develop the conclusion for himself.