Underlying Themes In 'The Lottery'

1284 Words6 Pages
Ali Al-Ali Professor Griffin Assignment #1 9/23/2012 Review of Underlying Themes in “The Lottery” In the year 1948, American literature took a shocking turn when Shirley Jackson published a short story entitled “The Lottery”. Not only did this story shock the nation, but it also left many people wondering what the story was truly about. It was not long until people were coming up with their own opinions on the story, many of which differed from each other. One man, Fritz Oehlschlaeger, wrote down his opinions on the meaning of the story. He uses examples from other authors to support his own ideas and to convince the reader that his point of view is the most logical explanation of “The Lottery”. Three main points that really stand…show more content…
When some of the townsfolk speak of the possibly of stopping the lottery, Old Man Warner gets very angry and silences them. Since there is no “savior” of these people, the Pharisees such as Old Man Warner are able to silence those who question the tradition with no resistance. Anyone who has a basic knowledge of the Gospels would clearly be able to spot the similarities between them and “the Lottery.” Oehlschlaeger clearly saw this resemblance in the basic structure of “the Lottery”, but is quick to point out that the main difference between the Gospels and “the Lottery” is that Shirley Jackson failed to include a “savior” of the people. Without this “savior”, the townspeople are free to continue with the lottery as they please. I believe that the Gospel where Jesus prevents a woman from being stoned to death was the biggest inspiration to Shirley Jackson when writing her…show more content…
He makes the claim that half of her name comes from the famous Anne Hutchinson, who was banished from Massachusetts because of her beliefs. He goes on to explain, “Jackson’s allusion to Anne Hutchinson reinforces her suggestions of rebellion lurking within the women of her imaginary town.”(261) This goes back to the idea that the only people in the town who questioned the practice of the lottery were women. Many of Tessie Hutchinson’s characteristics, he claims, match those of a central character in one of Jackson’s earlier novels in which there is also a ritualistic game played. A major connection made by Oehlschlaeger is Tessie Hutchinson to Hester Prynne from Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”. He explains that both of these women “seek to kill a principle of rebellion that is specifically female, and based in sexuality.”(262) Through this he eludes to the idea that a goal of the lottery is to contain the disruptive force of female sexuality. Here the lottery is being accused that the lottery is a way to control women. Encouraging them to have more children does this, by slimming the odds of they themselves having their name drawn in the second round of the lottery. Oehlschlaeger makes it very clear that even though Tessie is comparable to Anne Hutchinson and Hester Prynne, she is no hero. She not only tries to get a redraw,

More about Underlying Themes In 'The Lottery'

Open Document