Interpretation of Literature
Topic 2 – Othering
Shirley Jackson’s story, “The Lottery”, takes place on June 27th in a very small village of about only 300 people. This day is what they call the day of the lottery, hence the title. The Lottery is a tradition they have done for years, where the entire village gathers in the square, wait for their name to be called, which they then pick a small piece of paper from a black box, and patiently wait for everyone to pick their piece of paper. Once all the names have been called, everyone is to open their piece of paper, and the one person who has the small dot of lead staring back at them, is the one who is subsequently stoned to death. Since it was written in 1948, we can assume the story also takes place in this time period. With the title being about a lottery, you would assume there is a happy ending. You get a great sense of community, everyone being uplifting and light-hearted about this particular day, not knowing the events to come, and it is taking place on “a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green” (Jackson, 242). They seem to be one of the few towns or villages who still partakes in “the lottery”, which is where I get the first sense of “othering”. This community, as well as the other communities who participate, are labeled as the one’s still continuing the tradition of the lottery, however the village not too far away from them, the north village, were “talking of giving up the lottery” according to Mr. Adams, to which Old Man Warner replied “Pack of crazy fools, listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them” (Jackson, 246). This is where I saw the othering. This north village was labeled as crazy, and a pack of fools, all for giving up a tradition that really had no meaning anymore, so many generations had passed since the beginning of the tradition that no one really knew why they were doing it anymore. I get a sense of othering...
Bibliography: Jackson, Shirley. "The Lottery." Literature A Portable Anthology. 3rd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin 's, 2013. 242-49. Print.
Corrections made by Alex Platis, English major graduated from Georgetown University
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