Essay Jackson Lottery Shirley

Essay Jackson Lottery Shirley-68
We apologize for any inconvenience, and thank you for your visiting. It is not hard to account for this response: Jackson's story portrays an "average" New England village with "average" citizens engaged in a deadly rite, the annual selection of a sacrificial victim by means of a public lottery, and does so quite deviously: not until well along in the story do we suspect that the "winner" will be stoned to death by the rest of the villagers.(New social formations adapt old traditions to their own needs.) Women in the village seem to be disenfranchised because male heads of households, as men in the work force, provide the link between the broader economy of the village and the economy of the household. Jack Watson, on the other hand, whose father is dead, is clearly older than Horace and presumably already in the work force.

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Finally, after working through these points, it will be easier to explain how Jackson's choice of Tessie Hutchinson as the lottery's victim/scapegoat reveals the lottery to be an ideological mechanism which serves to defuse the average villager's deep, inarticulate dissatisfaction with the social order in which he lives by channeling it into anger directed at the of that social order.

It is reenacted year after year, then, not because it is a mere "tradition," as Helen Nebeker argues, but because it serves the repressive ideological function of purging the social body of all resistance so that business (capitalism) can go on as usual and the Summers, the Graves and the Martins can remain in power. The first of these rules I have already explained, of course: those who control the village economically and politically also administer the lottery.

The rules of lottery participation take this situation into account: "gown boy[s]" take precedence as proxies over wives (p. males and get their power from their insertion into a larger economy. Their dresses indicate that they do in fact work, but because they work in the home and not within the larger economy in which work is regulated by money, they are treated by men and treat themselves as inferiors.

Women, who have no direct link to the economy as defined by capitalism--the arena of activity in which labor is exchanged for wages and profits are made--choose in the lottery only in the absence of a "grown," working male. When Tessie Hutchinson appears late to the lottery, other men address her husband Bill, "here comes your Missus, Hutchinson" (p. None of the men, that is to say, thinks of addressing Tessie first, since she "belongs" to Bill.

Summers' conduct as their representative--reveal the class interest that lies behind it.

If Summers wears jeans, in order to convince the villagers that he is just another one of the common people, he also wears a "clean white shirt," a garment more appropriate to class (p. If he leans casually on the black box before the lottery selection begins, as a President, say, might put his feet up on the White House desk, while leaning he talk[s] interminably to Mr. Martin, who responds, is the third most powerful man in the village.The village in which the lottery takes place has a bank, a post office, a grocery store, a coal business, a school system; its women are housewives rather than field workers or writers; and its men talk of "tractors and taxes."Let me begin by describing the top of the social ladder and save the lower rungs for later. Summers, owns the village's largest business (a coal concern) and is also its major, since he has, Jackson writes, more "time and energy [read money and leisure] to devote to civic activities" than others (p. (Summers' very name suggests that he has become a man of leisure through his wealth.) Next in line is Mr. But it still remains to be explained Let me sketch the five major points of my answer to this question.Graves, the village's second most powerful government official--its postmaster. First, the lottery's rules of participation reflect and codify a rigid social hierarchy based upon an inequitable social division of labor.Women, then, have a distinctly subordinate position in the socio-economic hierarchy of the village. Most women in the village take this patriarchal definition of their role for granted, as Mrs. Delacroix's references to their husbands as their "old [men]" suggests (pp. Tessie, as we shall see later, is the only one who rebels against male domination, although only unconsciously.They make their first appearance "wearing faded house dresses . Having sketched some of the power relations within the families of the village, I can now shift my attention to the ways in which what I have called the democratic illusion of the lottery diverts their attention from the capitalist economic relations in which these relations of power are grounded.It serves to reinforce the village's hierarchical social order by instilling the villages with an unconscious fear that if they resist this order they might be selected in the next lottery. Graves' barn and another year underfoot in the post-office, and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there" (p. Who controls the town, then, also controls the lottery. When Bill Hutchinson forces his wife Tessie to open her lottery slip to the crowd, Jackson writes, "It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr.In the process of creating this fear, it also reproduces the ideology necessary for the smooth functioning of that social order, despite its inherent inequities. it is no coincidence that the lottery takes place in the village square "between the post-office and the bank"--two buildings which represent government and finance, the institutions from which Summers, Graves, and Martin derive their power. Summers had made the night before with [a] heavy pencil in [his] coal-company office" (p. At the very moment when the lottery's victim is revealed, Jackson appends a subordinate clause in which we see the blackness (evil) of Mr. Students and teachers are free to copy and quote it for scholarly purposes, but publishers should contact me before they reprint it for profit.One can imagine the average reader of Jackson's story protesting: But we engage in no such inhuman practices. Please do not ask me to answer your classroom essay questions for you; it defeats the purpose of your instructor having given you the assignment. Students should discuss the essay with each other and in their classrooms.


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