Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Blogged Response: The Lottery

           The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is about a village that has a specific date in which all of the people gather in order to select slips of paper to determine who gets stoned to death. This story like many others is an example of a dystopia because the villagers here stone someone to death based on a lottery, which is quite sinister due to the fact that death is dealt with by the random selection of people through a piece of paper.
            The villagers are aware of what will happen, as they have done so before many times. The dystopian aspect of this story is that in this universe it appears that others also partake in the lottery process, as other villages are mentioned in the story. People are called out and then the family who was chosen must then select slips of paper to see which specific member will get stoned. In a sense the villagers have a sort of population control because they hold these lotteries where people go to meet their deaths, and perhaps this is how the population is controlled. An interesting character throughout the story is Old Man Warner who criticizes the whispers of other villages giving up the lottery. The fact that the villagers are aware that other villages have given up the lottery can signify that they cannot break away from tradition since it has been part of their tradition for a long time. This of course is important to note because it means they are choosing to continue with something horrible like stoning someone, and though they know they can get rid of it, they choose not to. Perhaps it is not just about keeping tradition but for the villagers it is now a norm, a way of life, a dystopian life.
            What would happen if someone chose not to participate in the lottery? What if someone chose to leave to a village where the lottery did not take place anymore, would that be a possibility? If so, I know for a fact I would leave and stop participating in the lottery and risking my family’s life and my life. Also, why are they continuing this tradition of holding a lottery to see who dies? Do they not think it is strange or sinister? The reason I ask this is because throughout the story it seems as if they have forgotten the original tradition of the lottery, as is demonstrated with the villager’s inability to remember whether there had been a recital or whether the official was supposed to walk among the people. In any case, I believe this is a worthwhile story to read because it displays how evil and sinister things can become throughout this dystopia. The villagers do not question the lottery, it is just part of their tradition. Perhaps holding the lottery was a way to rid of the unwanted people, after all this is not unheard of, as we have seen in other dystopian works. For example, in Brave New World John is a savage, he belongs to a class that is unwanted, and because of this many unwanted people were left to live in isolated areas. So, perhaps in The Lottery it is the same case due to the fact that they hold random lotteries to see who is selected to die because they are unwanted.

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