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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 that fellow townspeople would kill the person by throwing stones at him until his skull was crumpled. The story doesn’t have a happy ending but a distressing conclusion. Ultimately, 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 magazine’s readers; many relentlessly annulled their New Yorker subscriptions. The unknown village in which the lottery is held and the brutal turn the story takes to enhance 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 in a tale that depicted the prevalence of wickedness over the values of American families. These sentiments were because World War 2 had just ended at that time. The good people succeeded, but “The Lottery” was a distressing reflection of the American Dream and convinced us that, though the dictatorship had been defeated, there was still so much chaos in the surroundings. Fortunately, many people admired the story, making it one of the most extensively anthologized short stories, and they defended Jackson’s place as one of the great horror writers in 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 well as the negative aspect of jealousy.

Comparison and Analysis

Jackson’s story “The Lottery” talks about the customs and rituals people follow without thinking of 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 in the lottery or the wallet is a sign of exchanging value. The lottery in the story concerning the value exchange signifies that as people get more civilized and educated, they forget what paper or money means. It means good or bad luck. Seeing how much life and wealth can be left on chance is irritating.

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

Familial relationships have been shown interestingly in “The Lottery.” The moment of the lottery had the most societal importance since each person in the lottery must draw by household. During the lottery, the familial bonds and emotionality linking 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, the stories “The Lottery” and “The Prodigal Son” intend to teach 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 knows 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. The title “The Lottery” is an exclusive instance of mockery as it usually shows a winner who has won cash or any other reward. Still, the consequences of Jackson’s lottery are not good. It fails in a relationship; a person is stoned until he dies.

Both stories show that people exploit the misuse of freedom and that it 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 to attain wealth.



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