The Lottery Shirley Jackson Essay Questions

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It is reenacted year after year, then, not because it is a mere "tradition," as Helen Nebeker argues, but because it serves the repressive ideological function of purging the social body of all resistance so that business (capitalism) can go on as usual and the Summers, the Graves and the Martins can remain in power. The first of these rules I have already explained, of course: those who control the village economically and politically also administer the lottery.

The remaining rules also tell us much about who has and who doesn't have power in the village's social hierarchy.

It is not hard to account for this response: Jackson's story portrays an "average" New England village with "average" citizens engaged in a deadly rite, the annual selection of a sacrificial victim by means of a public lottery, and does so quite deviously: not until well along in the story do we suspect that the "winner" will be stoned to death by the rest of the villagers.

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In the process of creating this fear, it also reproduces the ideology necessary for the smooth functioning of that social order, despite its inherent inequities. it is no coincidence that the lottery takes place in the village square "between the post-office and the bank"--two buildings which represent government and finance, the institutions from which Summers, Graves, and Martin derive their power. Summers had made the night before with [a] heavy pencil in [his] coal-company office" (p. At the very moment when the lottery's victim is revealed, Jackson appends a subordinate clause in which we see the blackness (evil) of Mr.

What is surprising in the work of an author who has never been identified as a Marxist is that this social order and ideology are essentially capitalist. Summers' (coal) business being transferred to the black dot on the lottery slip.

Women are disenfranchised.patriarchy in the village does have its capitalist dimension.

(New social formations adapt old traditions to their own needs.) Women in the village seem to be disenfranchised because male heads of households, as men in the work force, provide the link between the broader economy of the village and the economy of the household. Jack Watson, on the other hand, whose father is dead, is clearly older than Horace and presumably already in the work force.

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