“The Lottery” Through the Eyes of a Marxist
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is about a town in which a little black box controls whether or not a person may live or be killed. Sigmund Freud believed the unconscious mind controls her or him the most. The unconscious, made up of thoughts and urges, is a prevalent topic in “The Lottery” because although a black box upholds numerous years of tradition, nobody is sure as to why this is so. This short story shows how the upper class in a society can control the working class through fear or psychological manipulation, and live in luxury while those around them suffer.
“The Lottery” takes place in a town where there is a focus on giving one’s self up for the greater good. This belief already creates a power struggle with the old generation versus the new. “The Lottery” has a strong focus on withholding traditions that have been passed down. Just before the lottery picking, Mr. Adams says, “That over in the north village they’re talking of giving up the lottery” (Jackson). Even though the lottery is a tradition that has been upheld for years, the newer generations are beginning to question the practice. The old generation does not feel the same way about the lottery. Old Man Warner- the oldest man in town- says, “Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work anymore, live that way for awhile” (Jackson) after hearing that some villages were eliminating the lottery. Warner believes that in order to live a civilized life, the town needs the lottery otherwise they would resort to living in caves. One can clearly see that the old versus new conflict creates negative implications for the village because the citizens are a standstill as to what should get accomplished.
Positions of power also play an important role in the society. Although the town is supposed to have a uniform effort from everyone of equal status, there are still a selected few who have more power. Out of the three...