English 12 Honors
14 December 2012
“The Lottery” Through the Eyes of a Marxist/Feminist
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is about a town in which a little black box controls whether or not a person may live or be killed. The lack of dominant female characters illustrates the assumption that women are often seen as inferior to men. Interesting developments of the plot and theme make it obvious to the reader how women are portrayed in the story. This short story shows how the upper class in a society can control the working class through fear or psychological manipulation, and live in luxury while those around them suffer.
The overall meaning of this story is portrayed through the use of literary devices which influence its feminist theme. The characters in the story seem to be driven by tradition and not common sense. Mr. Summers -the head of the community- as well as other townspeople do not question the tradition of the lottery, and it makes it seem like it is simply a blind tradition that has no other meaning than being a tradition. The women, however, are the ones who mention that other towns have done away with the tradition of the lottery. They are quickly silenced, though, by the men who are present, including Old Man Warner, who had drawn from the lottery more than anyone else in the town. The women in this village are seen as voiceless and through the characters of the women in the story, the reader can see how women are portrayed negatively.
Positions of power also play an important role in the society. Although the town is supposed to have a uniform effort from everyone of equal status, there are still a selected few who have more power than everyone else. Out of the three hundred people in the town, two hold the most power; Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves. An example of this can be seen in this quote, “ The lottery was conducted-as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program- by Mr. Summers, who had... [continues]
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