Midwest Essay

Topics: Gender role, Shirley Jackson, Minnesota Pages: 4 (814 words) Published: April 20, 2014
Loh Ann Yie Andrea
Ms. Ann-Akay Steele
ENG 4U: English
Monday 3rd March, 2014
The True Face of the Midwest
The Midwest is an agricultural society in the heart of America. It is thought as a home for traditional people with great work ethics and a sense of pride in what they do. One might assume prairie fields with a hot and humid air during the summer- an environment that is in harmony with the optimistic and kind nature of the Midwest citizens, but what we perceive on the surface may not always be what it really is. Things are not always what they seem. According to Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, small town America is a place of traditional gender roles and where people refuse to change. This refusal to change results in the concept of nostalgia and non-progression. The Midwest is a place of tradition that is passed down from past generations. Shirley Jackson portrays her characters as people who adhere to traditional gender roles and rituals in her short story The Lottery. The head of the household or “the men come up and take a paper out of the box” (3), obtaining the power to draw and decide the fate of their respective families. Young Bobby Martin only listens to his father, as seen when “His father spoke up sharply, and Bobby came quickly and took his place between his father and his oldest brother.” (1). Shirley Jackson portrays the role of women in the Midwest as a less significant role in comparison to men, suggesting a traditional patriarchal system. In the small Midwestern town of The Lottery, traditional ritual is also followed without question. Even though the “villagers had forgotten the ritual” (7), they still went on with tradition and blindly follow it nevertheless. In The Heartland’s Role in US Culture: It’s ‘Main Street’, James R. Shortridge addresses the question “how could a place concurrently be a land of “traditional” farmers and “modern” industrialists?” (41). Shortridge acknowledges that the Midwest is a home for traditional farmers...


Cited: Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” The Lottery and Other Stories. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005. 1-8. Print.
Shortridge, James R.. “The Heartland 's Role in US Culture: It 's 'Main Street '.” The Public Perspective Online. University of Connecticut, 2014. Web. Jan. 22, 2014
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