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Graves and the Martins," the other members of his class, and "seem[s] very proper and important" (p. Jackson has placed these last details in emphatic position at the end of a paragraph.) Finally, however democratic his early appeal for help in conducting the lottery might appear--"some of you fellows want to give me a hand? Summers' question is essentially empty and formal, since the villagers seem to understand, probably unconsciously, the unspoken rule of class that governs who administers the lottery; it is not just The lottery's democratic illusion, then, is an ideological effect that prevents the villagers from criticizing the class structure of their society.
Jackson's husband, Stanley Edgar Hyman, has written in his introduction to a posthumous anthology of her short stories that "she consistently refused to be interviewed, to explain or promote her work in any fashion, or to take public stands and be the pundit of the Sunday supplements." that it was impossible for her to explain approximately what her story was about, only that it was "difficult." That she thought it meant something, and something subversive, moreover, she revealed in her response to the Union of South Africa's banning of "The Lottery": "She felt," Hyman says, "that A survey of what little has been written about "The Lottery" reveals two general critical attitudes: first, that it is about man's ineradicable primitive aggressivity, or what Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren call his "all-too-human tendency to seize upon a scapegoat"; second, that it describes man's victimization by, in Helen Nebeker's words, "unexamined and unchanging traditions which he could easily change if he only realized their implications." Missing from both of these approaches, however, is a careful analysis of the abundance of social detail that links the lottery to the ordinary social practices of the village. Here we have to ask a Marxist question: what relationship is there between his interests as the town's wealthiest businessman and his officiating the lottery?
No mere "irrational" tradition, the lottery is an . Martin steadies the lottery box as the slips are stirred (p. In the off season, the lottery box is stored either at their places of business or their residences: "It had spent on year in Mr. That such a relationship does exist is suggested by one of the most revealing lines of the text.
On its surface, the idea of a lottery in which everyone, as Mrs.
Graves says, "[takes] the same chance" seems eminently democratic, even if its effect, the singing out of one person for privilege or attack, is not. suggests 'election' rather than selection," since "the [villagers] assemble in the center of the place, in the village square." I would like to push the analogy further.
What is surprising in the work of an author who has never been identified as a Marxist is that this social order and ideology are essentially capitalist. Summers' (coal) business being transferred to the black dot on the lottery slip.
I think we need to take seriously Shirley Jackson's suggestion that the world of the lottery is her reader's world, however reduced in scale for the sake of economy. At one level at least, evil in Jackson's text is linked to a disorder, promoted by capitalism, in the material organization of modern society.
The remaining rules also tell us much about who has and who doesn't have power in the village's social hierarchy.
These remaining rules determine who gets to choose slips in the lottery's first, second and third rounds.
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.