Gregory L. Baize, Sr.
In Partial Completion for
ENG 102 D04 201130
July 10, 2011
Comparative study of Graham Greenes' "The Destructors" and Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." Both stories are great work of paralleled irony for different reasons. In "The Destructors," life's decisions are convoluted in a much different way, one may say they are the same as in The Lottery, but they are not. In "The Lottery," life's decisions appear to be easy, based totally on traditional and societal norms.
Two great works known for irony, in one a great author, Graham Greene, creates a masterpiece and in the other, a masterpiece creates a great author, Shirley Jackson. Greene had been known to the world and his works had been studied even without the presence of the Destructors, Shirley Jackson was considered nobody till she wrote “The Lottery” and stunned the world.
Both works are now studied as pieces of irony but I believe both to be great works in other, with a twist of deaths in the conclusion, although, worth mentioning, the similarities both serve to the other purpose rather than the plane simple.
The Destructors and The Lottery, both are symbolic society questioner, with its many symbols undermines the American and British societies. But both short stories carry within them even more, they talk of breaking the norms; they speak of minorities, giving up, and waste of life.
The Existentialists say man is free to choose yet the choice and having to choose is inevitable and this is seen in The Destructors where T is moved to a position of leadership as he made the choice to do something different even though the vote had already taken place. In Existentialist belief due to the exact same choice man is always anxious and hesitant, not knowing whether his choice is proper or not, is it accepted by others or not, and this is seen so clearly in the story:
In this story T takes over by choosing by putting responsibility of the choice on the gang but this in itself is again was choosing. It states “T raised eyes; ‘We’ll pull it down.’ – ‘We’ll destroy it.” Existentialist beliefs express the dilemma in life and again is shown by Blackie not being able to lead and now what to do with the T, whether to go against his gang, and let the new guy choose, or go against his buds, and do something else, and all life comes to the crossroad dilemma between freedom and prison for the boys. Existentialists strongly believe man is responsible for his choices they make now we see Blackie is threatened by T for the decision he made, even though he himself chose to go to ride the buses. The loneliness of man, believed by Existentialists, is throughout the story in Blackies’ feelings and especially in the end, when Blackie asked T “What’s your plan, T?’ ‘Tell Mike to go out to the loo and hide close beside it. When he hears me whistle he’s got to count ten and start to shout.’ ‘Shout what?’
‘Oh, Help, anything.’
‘You hear, Mike’ Blackie said. He was the leader again. He took a quick look between the shutters. ‘He’s coming, T.” By Existentialist belief life is absurd, in The Destructors there are materials of explosive action- a hammer, a crowbar, a state of undeclared war, an incipient uprising, a revenge note- but nothing happens which only serves to show life actually is absurd. There's no question Greene was an Existentialist, and I believe T is a representation of Greene. In the short story The Lottery Jackson uses so many symbols to convey ever so nicely her personal beliefs towards American low-minded society. She mentions the village: the village shows signs of conventionalism and tradition. In villages new ideas are forbid and life must continue as was in past generations. The village is a representation of closed area and closed thoughts and superstition. Age of Old Man Warner (77): The number 7 conveys luck and again superstition, and how he has been lucky to last so...
References: Jackson, S. (1948, June 28). The lottery. The New Yorker,
Green, G. (2004, January 27). The destructors. Penguin Books, reprint, pp. 181-197.
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