Essay: Conformity and Rebellion
Answering #7 (pg. 521): Many works in this section deal explicitly with the relationship between individuals and religion. What similarities do you find among them? What differences? Writing Topic: Compare and contrast the way that relationship is perceived in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” J. D. McClatchy’s “Jihad,” and Salman Rushdie’s “Imagine There’s No Heaven.”
It can be said that religion is a part of every person’s life. If one does not profess a certain religion, then one no doubt has a tendency for a religion. If one does not have a tendency for a religion, then one is probably against certain religions, or perhaps all religions. In all these ways, religion touches the lives of people, be it for the positive or negative. Relationships between people and religion develop quickly and powerfully, and we can view these relationships under the microscope of literature.
In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” a yearly ritual is performed in which a person is stoned to death, sacrificially ensuring a good harvest. Though no religion is expressly stated, the ritual has many religious overtones, including being embedded in tradition and practiced devoutly by the villagers who participate in it. Though the chosen woman, Tessie, initially follows along with the proceedings, she begins to quickly denounce the ritual once her family becomes the target. The relationship shown here is one of sacrifice. The author seems to wonder how we would react if we were made to be the sacrifices that our religions or rituals call for. The ritual of the lottery seems to be made largely of superstition without any real religion involved, yet the relationship between Tessie and the lottery can cause us to question the practice of blindly following our own traditions.
J. D. McClatchy’s “Jihad” is a poem showing different facets of the Islamic religion in relation to what the Koran calls Jihad. The poem clearly...