Presentation on theme: "“The Lottery” Shirley Jackson"— Presentation transcript:
1 “The Lottery” Shirley Jackson Notes on the story
2 Shirley JacksonShirley Hardie Jackson was born December 14, 1916 in San Francisco, CA. Jackson received her BA in English from Syracuse University. She married Stanley Edgar Hyman, a staff writer and literary critic at the New Yorker in the 1940s. She and Hyman had 4 children. Jackson's writing career flourished with publications in The New Yorker, Mademoiselle, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Charm, The Yale Review, The New Republic, The Saturday Evening Post, and Reader's Digest. She also published several collections of stories. Jackson died of heart failure on August 8th, 1965 in Bennington, VT.
3 Ancient Ritual Sacrifice In ancient Athens, Greece, Athenians believed that human sacrifice promised fertile crops.Each year in ancient Athens, as one story goes, during the annual festival called Thargelia, citizens would stone to death a man and a woman selected for this purpose.Death is thought to bring prosperity to the communityBy transferring one's sins to persons or animals and then sacrificing them, people believed that their sins would be eliminated, a process that has been termed the "scapegoat" archetypeA similar ritual sacrifice occurs with Tessie Hutchinson.This explains the village member's remark, “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.”
4 Historical ContextAfter World War II America experienced a trend toward general social conformity.People tended to imitate those around them rather than follow their own separate paths.Encouraging this conformity was the spread of television, which broadcast the same set of images to Americans scattered through the country.Meanwhile, patriotic rhetoric dominated the public mood in politics. Fears about fascist dictatorships and communism, issues that had been highlighted by the war-induced paranoia and suspicion among seemingly peaceful American communities.In the story, the townspeople are swept away by the tide of conformity, and the lottery goes ahead as always.
5 Historical ContextBy 1943 news of the Nazi concentration camps had finally reached America.A number of Americans responded with horror and concern that communities could have stood by and silently allowed the Holocaust to occur.Jackson hints at a similar situation in her story when the townspeople are unable to fully question or prevent the brutal lottery practice.
6 Historical/Sociological Context During World War II, Jews and other targeted groups were torn from their communities and sent to their death while the world stood by in silence.In “The Lottery,” Tessie is similarly suddenly ostracized from and killed by members of her own community.A few of the townspeople disagree with the ritual, but they merely mutter their displeasure under their breath, afraid to speak out more boldly against the practice.Not only do humans blindly perpetrate evil, the story tells us, but they are also capable of closing their eyes to and even participating in terrors that occur in their midst.
7 “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone" “The Lottery” certainly alludes to Gospel of St. John, 8:7, in which Jesus frees an adulterous woman, directing the scribe/Pharisee who is without sin to cast the first stone. No one throws stones at her.Unfortunately, no one in “The Lottery” rebukes the powers so forthrightly as Jesus does in John 8:7. Tessie becomes their scapegoat; she pays for their sins.
8 Ritual without meaning Because there has "always been a lottery“, the villagers feel compelled to continue this horrifying tradition.They focus, however, on its gruesome rather than its symbolic nature, for they "still remembered to use stones" even after they have "forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box“.The story may be saying that humanity's inclination toward violence overshadows society's need for civilized traditions.
9 POV: 3rd Person Objective There is very little conflict in the story—only Tessie’s objections present any conflict at all.At the end of "The Lottery," the reader discovers with horror what is about to happen, but the story ends with the casting of the first stones. Jackson prefers to leave the gruesome details to the reader's imagination.The conflict occurs within the reader as the reader notes foreshadowing in the story with growing uneasiness
10 Male vs. FemaleA conflict between male authority and female resistance is subtly evident throughout “The Lottery.”Early in the story, the boys make a great pile of stones in one corner of the square, while the girls stand aside talking among themselves, looking over their shoulders at the boys.When Tessie draws the paper with the black mark on it, Tessie does not show it to the crowd; instead her husband Bill forces it from her hand and holds it up.
11 Women’s rolesTessie Hutchinson defies the concept of the passive and selfless woman.Tessie's actions are decidedly unlike the behavior expected of the ideal wife and mother in the era. Tessie is hardly self-sacrificing.She even jeopardizes her married daughter by suggesting that she join the Hutchinson family in the final lottery drawing.
12 Women vs. WomenAt the beginning of the story, the girls stand together watching the boys gather the stones, but as those girls become women, the involvement in marriage and childbearing that the lottery encourages pits them against one another, blinding them to the fact that all power in their community is male.A most grievous betrayal of another woman occurs when Tessie turns on her married daughter and attempts to jeopardize her safety.Jackson emphasizes women's turning against one another, too, through her pointed depiction of the brutality of Mrs. Delacroix and Mrs. Graves in setting upon Tessie.
13 Mob violenceThe heinous actions exhibited in groups (such as the stoning of Mrs. Hutchinson) do not take place on the individual level, for individually such action would be deemed "murder."On the group level, people classify their heinous act simply as "ritual."When Mrs. Hutchinson arrives at the ceremony late, she chats sociably with Mrs. Delacroix. Nevertheless, after Mrs. Hutchinson falls victim to the lottery selection, Mrs. Delacroix chooses a "stone so large" that she must pick it up with both hands.Whereas, on the individual level, the two women regard each other as friends, on the group level, they betray that relationship, satiating the mob mentality.
14 Foreshadowing…Setting is idyllic; readers expect the lottery to be a positive experienceSome of the boys create a "great pile of stones in one corner of the square."the men of the village arrive they stand away from the stones, joke quietly, and smile instead of laugh.since the lottery is to take only two hours, the villagers plan to be home in time for lunch. (how can they eat after this?)Mr. Summers, a jovial man who conducts the lottery ceremony, sets the tone of the event with both his name and his mannerisms.The lottery takes place every year when the nature cycle peaks in midsummer, a time usually associated with cheerfulness.
15 SymbolismBlack: the color for death, mourning, punishment, penitence in western civilization.The black box used to draw lots and the slip of paper with a black mark pointing out the 'winner' are mentioned too frequently to be coincidental.Black box: coffin? Evil secret hidden away?Black spot on paper: sin? A “black mark” on one’s record is negative; black mark: unclean?
16 SymbolismStones are a universal symbol for punishment, burial, and martyrdom: they indicate a morbid ceremony.Chips of wood: now discarded for slips of paper, suggest a preliterate/ancient origin, like the ancient sacrificial rituals for crops.The setting: no specific name/place indicates this is anytown, USA; the contrast of the town with the ritual helps build suspenseSquare: (village square) may represent the four corners of the earth—earthly opposed to heavenly; human-created as opposed to natural; boxed in; concealed.
17 Symbolism: NamesTessie Hutchinson: Most likely an allusion to Anne Hutchinson ( ), American religious enthusiast who founded the Puritan colony of Rhode Island. She had new theological views which opposed her to other ministers. After a local trial banished her she was tried before the Boston Church and formally excommunicated. Anne and fifteen of her children were subsequently murdered by the Indians in 1643.The parallelism between her story and Tessie's is clear: to her, excommunication meant spiritual death just as to Tessie being cast out from the group = death.
18 Symbolism: Names Tessie Hutchinson: Anti-ritualAnn Hutchinson held that neither church nor state was needed to connect a believer to his or her God. (In the end, Tessie rejects the lottery ritual, saying “it isn’t right.”)Tessie, diminutive for Theresa, derives from the Greek theizein, meaning “to reap”, or, if the nickname is for Anastasia, it will translate literally “of the resurrection”. (sacrifice for sins; contrast with Delacroix—“of the cross.”)
19 Delacroix (“of-the-Cross”) Symbolism: NamesDelacroix (“of-the-Cross”)vulgarized to Della-croy (no longer truly of the cross)Some critics suggest that Mrs. Delacroix represents the duality of human nature: she is pleasant and friendly on the outside, but underneath she possesses a degree of savagery.Cross has many connotations crossroads (faced with 2 directions); to cross something off; to be angry; to cross over or to pass by; pass from one side of to the other; to oppose, as in crossing one’s path; a burden; combination of 2 elements; To make or put a line across; To betray or deceive, double-cross…
20 Symbolism: NamesSummers: the season of summer is associated with youth, strength, growth, prime of life, warmth, leisure, prosperity, happiness, blooming, blossomingMr Summers is the head of the coal business, which could symbolize close contacts with the underworld, evil; lurking just beneath the surface.Coal is earthly (as opposed to heavenly); black; formed in the process of many years (long-term process); formed from compressed, decaying matter; early chemistry used a black spot to symbolize coal.Marxist critics point out how Mr. Summers, who would have been one of the wealthier citizens, leads the lottery— those with money control the people’s activities.
21 Graves : the obvious grave = place of entombment/death Symbolism: NamesGraves : the obvious grave = place of entombment/deathMr. Graves quietly assists Mr. Summers, with “Graves” hinting at a dark undertone.Grave = serious; hints that the lottery may not be a frivolous contest (“Mr. Graves said gravely”)Critics have said that Jackson creates balance by juxtaposing Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves to share in the responsibilities of the ritual: Life brings death, and death recycles life.
22 Adams : reference to the first man, the first sinner Symbolism: NamesAdams : reference to the first man, the first sinnerWhile he seems to be one of the few who questions the lottery when he mentions that another village is thinking about giving up the ritual, he stands at the front of the crowd when the stoning of Tessie begins. Like the biblical Adam, Adams goes along with the sin; he follows others in their evil.
23 Symbolism: NamesOld Man Warner: Resistant to change and representing the old social order, he warns about how important the event is to the survival of the village.Old man Warner is 77 years old the number 7 has many connotations, but one common connotation is that 7 is lucky …he has been lucky to avoid the lottery so many times.
24 Symbolism: NamesMartin : associated with Mars, the Roman god of fertility and war. The following are just FYI:St. Martin: Patron of drunkards, to save them from falling into danger. (The origin came from St. Martin’s day coinciding with the feast of Bacchus, god of wine.)St. Martin’s goose. The 11th of November, St. Martin’s Day, was at one time the great goose feast of France. The legend is that St. Martin was annoyed by a goose, which he ordered to be killed and served up for dinner. He died after eating dinner, and a goose has been ever since “sacrificed” to him on the anniversary.St. Martin’s bird is the raven, long associated with death and departed spirits
25 Symbolism: NamesDunbar: breaking this name down into its 2 syllables, one can come up with:1. dun – to treat cruelly; or a dull, brownish gray color2. bar - Something that impedes or prevents action or progress; relatively long, straight, rigid piece of solid material used as a barrier, support, or fastener; A standard, expectation, or degree of requirement;
26 Themes Not all rituals are beneficial, positive or civilized (almost done…)Not all rituals are beneficial, positive or civilizedActs of violence, hatred, murder are not acceptable just because many people participateTraditions and rituals should be questioned; group mentality can be harmfulPeople are not all good or all evil but a mixture of both.Many more ideas/themes can be applied to “The Lottery”
27 “The Lottery”: More than you expected, right…? End of presentation.(Finally)