“The Lottery” and “Dry September” essay
Accusing the Innocent
Throughout history and to this day there have been many incidents where the innocent were wrongly accused. This concept is also present in various works of literature. In “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and “Dry September” by William Faulkner a group of people assemble and accuse an innocent individual. There are many reasons why the innocent are often targeted as victims, it can be due to jealousy, the need of a scapegoat, or feelings of insecurity on the accuser’s behalf.
An example in history, similar to the plot in Shirley’s “The Lottery,” is the human sacrifices made in the Mayan civilization. Here, the innocent were killed to satisfy a god that the Mayans worshipped. Human sacrifices seem to have been made by ripping out hearts, being struck by arrows, scalping, decapitating, and throwing the victim into a limestone sinkhole. Like Tessie from “The Lottery,” innocent humans in the Mayan culture were randomly accused as victims in a cruel manner.
Jackson portrays the idea of a “lottery” in a very mysterious way. The audience
is not clear on whether winning the lottery is a good or bad thing until the end of the short story. Winning the lottery results in being stoned to death; this was justified with the excuse that it was “tradition.” In this case the victim ends up being used as a scapegoat, the accusers, the village people, claim that this tradition improves the condition of the crops. An innocent person is being
persecuted and the real reasons are being hidden; although the towns people don’t people don’t admit it to themselves, they actually enjoy the stoning. An innocent person is being targeted to satisfy the selfish needs of others. Unlike Faulkner’s short...