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The Lottery by Shirley Jackson


‘The Lottery by Shirley Jackson’ here isn’t regarding money; rather the story is about a lottery that a small Vermont town holds for the determination of the person who would be ceremonially stoned to death. This means the fellow townspeople would kill the person by throwing stones at him until his skull is crumpled. The story doesn’t have a happy ending but a distressing conclusion. In the end, there’s no screaming of a cheerful winner but rather a desperate cry of a woman that what’s being done isn’t just and right.

A major controversy began when the story first came out.  ‘The Lottery by Shirley Jackson’s inherent analysis of the cruelty regarding the customs and codes of the small town of America annoyed the readers of the magazine; many relentlessly annulled their New Yorker subscriptions. The unknown village in which the lottery is held and the brutal turn the story takes enhances the uneasiness of the contemporary readers that the violence of the group in the story could have happened anywhere else or everywhere.

The reminiscence of the evil that prowled in the hearts of men was what people did not want at all particularly a tale that depicted the prevalence of the wickedness over the values of the American families. These sentiments were because World War 2 had just ended at that time. The good people succeeded but “The Lottery” put up a distressing reflection of the American Dream and convinced us that though dictatorship had been defeated, there was still so much chaos in the surrounding. Fortunately, many people admired the story making it one of the most extensively anthologized short stories, and defended Jackson’s place as one of the great horror writers of America.

Introduction to ‘The Prodigal Son Luke 15’

“The Prodigal Son” is a story of a young man who asks for his father’s inheritance during his life. After he takes the money, he wastes it. He feels bad about it and asks for forgiveness from his father. Father embraces him with open arms which becomes the reason for the other son’s envy. Forgiveness and the importance of relationships are mostly highlighted in the story, as also the negative aspect of jealousy.

Comparison and analysis

Jackson’s story “The Lottery” talks about the customs and rituals which people follow without thinking being part of society. Besides criticizing the manner in which tradition complicates good and evil, the lottery also examines customary social and gender partitions. The arbitrary delivery of paper (money) shows that some families are lucky and others are not. Money, either in the lottery or the wallet is a sign of exchanging value. The lottery in the story concerning the exchange of value signifies that as people get more civilized and educated, they forget what this paper or money means. It means good or bad luck. It’s irritating to see how much life and wealth can be left on chance.

This is what we also observe in the story of “The Prodigal Son.” People are so running after this paper that they forget its significance and limitations, and also family values. The son demands his share of inheritance from his father while he was still alive shows this negative aspect of the people. But apart from this, the positivity of the story lies in the forgiveness of the father who retained the goodness of family values and relationships.

The notion of familial relationships has been shown in an interesting manner in “The Lottery.” The moment of the lottery had the most societal importance since each person in the lottery must draw by household. It was during the lottery when the familial bonds and emotionality which used to link mother to her child, wife to husband, and friend to friend, became unimportant. After the lottery, the families retained the emotional bonds and wept over the lost members of their families. Hence, the author drew a margin amid the social positions of the families and the emotional significance of family ties.

Hence, both the stories “The Lottery” and “The Prodigal Son” intend to give a lesson regarding family values, the significance of forgiveness, and illogical and brutal customs and traditions that must not be followed. What’s especially significant about the ritual carried out in “The Lottery” is that it seems unending. Nobody is aware of its origin, and no one can predict its end. Its deceptive lack of history makes the custom more strong. It has become a strong force of nature that people cannot think of going against it. The title “The Lottery” is an exclusive instance of mockery as it usually gives a view of a winner who has won cash or any other reward, but the consequences of Jackson’s lottery are not good. It fails in a relationship; a person is stoned until he dies.

Both the stories show that misuse of freedom is exploited by people and results in great damage and harm; both socially and personally. The true words of God must be followed, and not the brutal customs and traditions enforced by the people who have no logic, and also not the immoral desires of the heart. Money must be viewed as a ‘need’ and not a ‘want.’ Though the distribution of wealth depends on luck, one must not be influenced enough to cross the borders and go towards the evil side just for the attainment of wealth.



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