Comparison and Contrast of the Lottery and the Ones Who Walk Away from

Topics: Short story, Stoning, Shirley Jackson Pages: 4 (1227 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Comparison and Contrast of The Lottery and The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

The differences between "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson and "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" by Ursula K. Le Guin seem relatively minor when compared to the striking similarities they contain in setting, symbols, and theme.

Each of the stories begin with a description of a beautiful summer day. "The flowers were blooming profusely and the grass was richly green"(para 1) in "The Lottery" is quite comparable to "old moss-grown gardens and under avenues of trees"(para 1) in "...Omelas." These descriptions (along with several others) provide positive connotations and allow the reader to relax into what seems to be a comfortable setting in either story. Both stories also contain a gathering of townspeople. In "...Omelas there is music, dance, and special attire incorporated in the gathering, whereas in "The Lottery," the women show up "wearing faded house dresses and sweaters." Although Le Guin's environment seems more festive, all the folks in both stories are coming together for what seems to be enjoyable, even celebratory occasions. However, I believe the major similarity lies in the fact that these many pleasant details create a facade within each story. The reader is then left ill-prepared when the shocking, brutally violent, ritualistic traditions are exposed.

Children are an important focus in both stories. Jackson makes it easy for us to imagine their "boisterous play"(para 2), and Le Guin writes "their high calls rising like swallows' crossing flights over the music and the singing"(para1). I see these children being used to symbolize perceived states of happiness in both stories. I also believe they are vital necessities in each story because they are taught and expected to carry traditions into the future. For instance, in "The Lottery," "someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles"(para 76), he is then able to participate in the stoning of his...
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