18 April, 2018
The Lottery: Are We Change?
The first sentence of the “Three Character Classic”, which is one of the many classic Chinese texts used to teach basic literacy to young children in the past, is: “Men on birth, Good at birth.” This sentence has also become the dogma of Chinese. Westerners, by contrast, commonly believe that man’s nature is evil at birth. In Christianity, people think that people come to this world with “Original Sin”.
This book was published in 1948. The contemporary American society where the author Shirley Jackson lived underwent the Great Depression and the Second World War. The feminist movement surged, and the African-American civil rights movement was also about to enter an extraordinary era. The call for reform continuously emerged. There was an important role-Old Man Warner-in the novel. Mr. Warner was the oldest person in the town and should have the wisdom of common sense; however, he is the representative of the most stupid and cruelest person. “Warner”, the archetype of the death prophet, represents a voice from ancient times, stands for a firm opponent of reform, and symbolizes that the old stereotypes and customs are as stubborn, decadent, and long-lasting as him. The weakness of women’s rights awareness, the “democracy” under the majority and the absence of social beliefs in this short story has made us be aware that the society has not changed much in the present era after 70 years. CITATION Amy l 1028 (Griffin)In the hierarchy of patriarchy, women are always passively presented as the opposite of men. In terms of the rules of the lottery ceremony, the man draws lots on behalf of the whole family. The total number of touch-ups is divided into three rounds: The family leader draws in the first round, followed by the male owner of each family, and the family who is Members draws at the last round. In the then patriarchal society, women were always on the margin of society. Under the control of this ideology, women only learned to wait, obey, and accept. In the novel, Tessie Hutchinson was the only woman who showed a sense of resistance. Tessie tried to rebel against her status, which was not tolerated at that time. Therefore, Shirley Jackson made Tessie Hutcihnson a scapegoat for “Lottery.” CITATION Lee12 l 1028 (Lee) Fortunately, in today’s society, after years of hard work, the rise of women’s rights awareness has enabled women to express their opinions and thoughts. Women are no longer the marginalization of society, and women’s status at home is also greatly enhanced. For example, last year, the Saudi Arabian government announced that women can drive and they can also run for election. Many people think that the status of women in Islam is degraded; however, as time changes, men have realized that the value of women is no longer just a “house wife.”
The ritual killings described in the novels are actually similar to the ancient Chinese rituals (I am afraid there are similar rituals in any religion in any culture). In “Journey to the West”, a famous Chinese novel, there is a story about the worship of the river god by “offering” boys and girls. Like the lottery, it is to pray for a good harvest in the coming year. The shock of “lottery” is much stronger, not only because of the emotional effect created by the author with strong contrast but also because of the storyline that author placed an ancient ceremony in the village of a modern civilized society, where there are schools, post offices, banks, and democratic rule by the majority. But there is still such senseless violent and widespread cruelty. This shows that such a “lottery” activity—the killing ritual—can take place in any country. At any time, the implementer can be any individual. This barbarism originates from the evil of human nature itself. CITATION Oeh l 1028 (Fritz)In today’s society, the democratic methods may still be collective atrocities that destroy individuals and even kill people. The advancement of the cyber world, the words and deeds of one person and one sentence, and the criticism and verbal violence may easily make a person’s world collapse. For example, in the era of rapid message development, the media often published photos or background information of certain people without confirmation, claiming to be suspected of being the murderer. The 24-hour broadcast, and the spread of the Internet, but finally proved that it was not a prisoner. Will media and news try their best to explain it? When we are interpreting messages or reading news, do we calmly think and judge calmly, or do we attack others following everyone’s speech? I think many people have made such mistakes just like those in this book. Like the villagers holding the stones. People in the real world have become the executioners without clarifying the truth. And some people have become victims of the society and the theory. CITATION Ang05 l 1028 (Angela)Human nature whether is the “original evil” presented by the author or the “goodness” taught by Chinese traditional customs, is still a myth for me. These traditional ceremonies have gradually disappeared. However, what is unchanged is that social violence tends to harm others via collective behavior of the majority. Are these so-called “traditional ideas” still in the blood of people and have not changed even though times progresses?
Amy A. Griffin. “Shirley Jackson’s the ‘Lottery’. “Heldref Publications EXPLICATOR, vol. 58, no. 1, n.d., pp. 44-46. EBSCOhost, sinclair.ohionet.org:80/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edswah&AN=000083869600018&site=eds-live. Accessed 14 April. 2018
Hague, Angela. “‘A Faithful Anatomy of Our Times’: Reassessing Shirley Jackson.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, no. 2, 2005, p. 73. EBSCOhost, sinclair.ohionet.org:80/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.137493114&site=eds-live. Accessed 14 April. 2018
Haiyan Lee1, [email protected] “Woman, Sacrifice, and the Limits of Sympathy.” Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, vol. 6, no. 2, Apr. 2012, pp. 184-197. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3868/s010-001-012-0011-1. Accessed 14 April. 2018
Oehlschlaeger, Fritz. “The Stoning of Mistress Hutchinson: Meaning and Context in “The Lottery.” Essays in Literature, vol. 15, no. 2, Fall88, pp. 259-265. EBSCOhost, sinclair.ohionet.org:80/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true;db=hlh;AN=24389373;site=eds-live. Accessed 14 April. 2018