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Intro to Literature 101
The Historical and Cultural Look at The Lottery
I choose to do my paper on “The Lottery”. I found the story very interesting. There is something about it that just made me what to read it. I’ve read or seen movies with similar plots to them. The story opens with a very warm opening but ends somewhat dark and tragic. But what I really want to dig deeper into the historical and cultural aspects of this story.
Historically you could look back and see just how normal it is to stone someone to death as it in the story. I mean “Mr. Summers says “Let’s finish quickly.” (Jackson 543) * as if it’s no big deal and they need to hurry to get back to their afternoon chores. But that’s how it was in early civilization, if you committed a crime you could be stoned to death and that’s how things were. Even in the Bible they stoned people. So I think the author used some of these aspects for this story.
For the characters in this story they weren’t stoning someone because they broke a law it was more of a population control issue and it was just the way things were. It was a tradition that was passed down from generation to generation. It’s what they knew and it wasn’t just that town but towns all over did it. Although some towns were putting an end to the lottery. It doesn’t say way some town were putting an end to the lottery but I have a feeling it was because the younger people were starting to take over. Even Old Man Warner says something about it. “Nothing but trouble in that,” Old Man Warner said stoutly. “Pack of young fools” (Jackson 541).* But it was looked down on to do so.
The way things were done was passed down although it does state “That the original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town” (Jackson 540). * Although they did stop using the ritual.
This story was written in the late 1940’s and you can see the cultural aspects of that throughout the story. The way they gathered in the center of town and how the men folk draw first as head of house hold. And maybe that’s how it was in some cultural overseas in that time. Thankfully in this day and age stoning is not acceptable.
Literature Craft & Voice, Second Edition; Nicholas Delbanco, Alan Cheuse: The McGraw-Hill 2012,2010
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