The Lottery and the Most Dangerous Game

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Fictional stories are just one gateway for some people to express themselves and others to relate to and escape from normal, everyday life. As we look at the two stories “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell we will look at the different conflicts that appear, the different ways each major character experiences conflict, and how these conflicts are eventually resolved. In the short story “The Lottery” a small village of about three-hundred people is depicted. The author describes a quiet friendly little town where everyone knows everyone else’s business. As the story goes on, the reader discovers that the town is assembling for what they refer to as the lottery. This event happens every year and we soon find out, from the reactions of the winner of the lottery, that it is not something one wants to win. The village gathers, light-heartedly making jokes and chatting. The Hutchinson family was the unfortunate winners of the first round and now they must draw among themselves. Mrs. Hutchinson makes an accusation that her husband simply did not have enough time to draw a good slip of paper. The reader can definitely identify this as the first conflict in this story. A woman, who previously had no objections to this yearly event, is now protesting the unfairness of its outcome. The reader begins to wonder what this lottery really is, as that seems an inappropriate response to a good thing. The tension in the story rises as the Hutchinson family prepares to draw again, presenting the second conflict. People in the crowd announce who they do not want to win and they hold their breaths when the youngest Hutchinson child draws first, hoping it is not him. It is soon revealed that Mrs. Hutchinson has been the unlucky winner of this year’s lottery. Mrs. Hutchinson, or Tessie, begins suffering conflict the minute her family’s name was drawn. She begins to realize the cruelty and horrific irony behind this village tradition. She begs that they put her oldest daughter and husband in their drawing in order to lower her chances. She does not hesitate to throw her children under the bus when she realizes the immediate danger she is in. Tessie shows the reader her selfish, hypocritical side at this point. Tessie experiences more conflict when it is discovered that she holds the slip with the black dot and the townspeople start picking up rocks and moving in towards her. She desperately cries out, “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right!” The conflict is never really resolved in this ironic fictional story. Tessie is stoned to death by her family and friends in a tradition that is both brutal and unjust. Although Tessie finally understands this, it is too little to late by that time. In the story one of the characters mentions that some towns were abandoning the lottery which brings upon a response from an older townsman, Old Man Warner. He retorts, “Nothing but trouble in that…Pack of young fools." From this conversation it appears that the younger generations was perhaps realizing the inhumanity in killing off annually at random and were slowing changing tradition. It is hard to feel sympathy for Tessie Hutchinson once she reveals her true self to the reader. It is hard to imagine that anyone would go along with such a terrible ritual, let alone sacrifice her own children to save herself. It would seem that sympathy would fall towards the whole town itself for being seemingly brainwashed. The reason behind why the town participates in this activity is unknown, leaving the reader with the impression that they themselves do not even know why they do it. The lottery has been around for many years that the people have forgotten the ritual. To them, the apparently pointless, murder this one time a year is acceptable. Richard Connell’s story “The Most Dangerous Game” is a story full of conflict and surprise. Rainsford, an avid hunter, is on a boat bound for Rio de Janeiro when he falls off in the middle of the...
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