I'm wondering if the townspeople seemed to enjoy this lottery. Thinking about how many of the townsmembers called the other towns who had quit the lottery fools. Was it fun to kill one person each month? Or was it just something they had all gotten used to?
Usually when you have a small town everyone knows everyone so how can these people stone thier own people? How can one kill a neighbor?
This is Karly-What connections can you see between the black box in "The Lottery" and the black box in the Village?
Did anyone else notice that the woman who was stoned was also the one that arrived late . . .
laurenc- I think the whole point was that they didn't enjoy it, but they didn't hate it either. In this way, Jackson is showing the meaninglessness of traditions once they have been around too long.
marissas - I hate to be close minded but I don't really see any similarites between the boxes other then the fact that they were kept away most of the time.
Sorry, my question was if any of you thought there was any significance to this?
Did anyone notice that at the beginning of the story, all the villagers seemed happy to be there and sounded like they were having fun? Why do you think that they enjoy this? Is it sort of a sacrifice or something?
Did this story remind anyone of the movie THE ISLAND??
This is Rachel S-What do you think that the author was trying to say about human kind by writting the lottery?
laurenc--- I don't think they enjoyed it at all. While they were drawing the papers it described that most people were fidgeting, looking at the ground, laughing halfheartedly, and just generally acting nervous. They followed the ritual, yet they were acting agitated and nervous. I think that they were all used to it and would never think of questioning it, but they didn't like it deep down.
alexf- did this remind you of "Those Who Walked Away From Omelas"?
alexf - I think they enjoy it because they don't consider it wrong. Sort of like how women from India would consider it a horrible thing to have their hair shown and we love to have our hair shown...I think it's all about how you're raised.
Karly~ I noticed that no one knew what was inside them except for the people who ran the town. So, Mr. Summer's knew what was inside the box and the owner of the box in the village knew what was in it too.
AlexF- I noticed that also, everyone was excited for the day and everyone was excited to see who would be picked, when they could have easily been it themselves!
At Olivia:I had the same thought . . . but I think that they were using this as a way to vent out their anger. After all there was not much mention of other crimes in the town. Yeah, how would that man kill his wife? And how would the children kill their mother?Also, Do you think they were trying to weed out the town at all?
Kira! I wondered if that had any connection too! I also wondered if her bossiness and controling attitdue played any part? Do you guys believe the Lotto was truly random?
So.. in the inner circle they just asked why it was called "The Lottery". Well, Webster defines lottery as something that is regarded as a chance event. There you go.
This is Karly-Do you think that it is ironic that the children, usually a symbol of innocence, are the ones that were joyfully collecting the round stones at the beginning?
About the significance of calling this a lottery, I also think that it was called this to trick the reader. It shows how everything isn’t as it seems. I think that that was what the author was trying to tell us, because she made it seem like it was a good thing the entire time, until Tessie was stoned to death! Also, maybe it was to intrigue the reader!? Would an average person really read a story called, Stoned to death if chosen randomly by a black box? (Obviously it would be more clever, but still…).
oliviak- That's what I was wondering too. I thought that it was horrible that their family memebers had to sit there and watch them be stoned to death. Wouldn't they stop their neighbors to save their loved one?
karly- It is hard for me to connect the two. I think that they are very different. The box in the village holds all of the things that they are trying to run away from. The one person that is chosen in The Lottery is doomed and blamed for things, which seems to be a different concept. Perhaps both of the boxes hold blames and the things that are pulled out are deemed a troubles.
oliviak--- It seems morbid, disturbing, and wrong to us (and rightly so), but to them it was a formality and a ritual. If something is repeated enough eventually it'll become second nature. That's what happened in this town; it had been repeated and engrained into them so much that they almost didn't even care.
laurenc ~ I questioned this too. One of my thoguhts was that it was a way to get rid of their evil human nature to kill and power over other life, to rid the town of crime. Because if you can kill someone by law, you will not have to break to law to kill someone else. Also, I got the feel that the town was perfect and their was no crime. Just a thought.
This lottery also reminded me of Russian Roulette. Which was a game show but also a way to decide who to kill. The person spins around in a circle and whoever the gun points to dies...creepy isn't it?
Karly-I did notice this connection as well. In The Village, they kept their secrets in the black box. The townspeople kind of kept their secret or the black dot in the lottery black box.
rachels- I believe that the author was basically saying that every society need a scapegoat and that people need someone to blame all of their troubles upon. It is a lot like one of the philosophy statements we had to answer at the beginning of the year.
LaurenC- I don't think that they particularly enjoyed the lottery, rather they had come to accept that it was something that had to be done, just as Rya just said in the inner circle. I think that this society needed someone to blame, they needed something to believe in, because if they didn't think that this sacrificing was going to make them safe, then why would they allow the killing of their loved ones?
Did anyone else notice something interesting about the use of adjectives in this story? I wondered if snyone thought the same as me...
oliviak- This is a good point, but I think the reason they do it is for tradition. It is obviouis that this town and other towns around have held this tradition of the "Lottery" for many years. It may be hard for the whole town to see an innocent person they all know get stoned, but they all accept it because they know that is the way it needs to be.
This is Rachel s-Matt-I think that the reason peole were not scared is because people never expect it to be them. Like wearing a seatbelt, I'm always like I'm not going to die.
Alex~ I think they enjoy gathering together in a sinister way. I'm not sure why they look forward to it, but I think they do. I think the purpose of it is to get rid of outsiders. If you noticed when Mr. Summers was making sure everyone was here, he pointed out all the odd people out. The boy who's mom wasn't there, Mrs. Hutchinson was late, and so on. Mrs. Hutchinson clearly disagreed with this activity and I think since she didn't like it so much, that her family was put on stake for anyone of their death for her not fitting in to society.
Did any of you notice also that the little boys were collecting stones at the begining too? Were they excited?
Does anyone else wonder if the lottery was truly random?
LaurenC~True, but if you think about it, if they were raised to enjoy the lottery, why Tessie Hutchinson and her other family members be shouting, ‘no it isn’t fair’, and ‘he didn’t have time to choose’? Do you think that, yes they were raised that way, but once it hit home, they knew it was wrong, or was it just Tessie going insane and anyone else would have been okay with being chosen?
Perhaps for them, drawing a name from the box,was a tradition and people don't like to break traditions. Does it have anything to do with their spiritual life? I don't recall it saying anything like that, but what exactly do these people believe and do they that it is morally right?
mollys - That could very well be true...but for some reason it's hard for me to see this lottery as being neccesary for the town to live. Other towns had given it up, but people in this town considered them foolish. So why keep it going? Doesn't seem to me that they lose anything by quitting. Just a thought.
Rachels~ but even if people didn't expect it to be them, wouldn't they still have been scared and afraid of being picked? It's different getting in a car because you're not expecting someone you're surrounded by to die in a few minutes.
alexf- I think that they only disagreed with it once someone that they loved was chosen to be stoned, and perhaps if they are younger then they are more eager to rebell and not listen to the ways of the elders. Don't we see that in our society?
I noticed that when Tessie was chosen, she was protesting and trying to get out of it. No one else tried to help her, though. It seems like no one would question it or protest if they weren't chosen, but it's a whole different story once they're the one. It's a commentary on society---we accept violence or wrongdoing if we're "watching it through the glass," so to speak. If it's not personal or relating directly to us we don't really mind. But if it becomes personal, we become hypocrites and decide that it's suddenly wrong. All along it was wrong, but we only notice this when it "hits home." Why do you think this is?
laurenc- Russian roulette is also taking a revolver and putting a single bullet into the cartridge. You spin the cartridge around, put the gun to your head and pull the trigger. It's all up to chance whether you die or not. This is exactly like "The Lottery".
I think the town established a system of a "lottery" to justify the ridding of some of the townspeople. If they did it by random chance, I believe in their minds it made everything ok. What are your thoughts on this?
alexf - Like the inner circle mentioned earlier, it's easy to look at the names on the news and just think oh another person died how sad but never think about it twice. When it's a family member, close friend, or most of all yourself then you suddenly care a lot more and want to make other people care as well.
I just have a question. When they talked about the black box, was anyone reminded of The Village? They all had the boxes full of their past and secrets...I just saw a big connection!
Sabrina- I totally agree, i think it was totally rigged!! i don't know how, but it is somehow chosen by the leaders of the community!
sabrinad~ yes I did wonder! But not because the people were chosing, but that God is chosing. Maybe they think that it is a way God choses to kill people who deserve. Chance is merely God's choice. What do you think?
Sabrina-Yes ma'am I thought that the coal miner guy could have rigged it, for sure. Its wierd that the people can truely trust in his decisions as far as making the papers.
Did the people of the town think that they were giving up themselves for the good of the town?
Laurenc- "lottery in June, corn be heavy soon". I think they were superstitious about the harvest, and had to sacrifice someone to have a good harvest. It could have a deeper meaning too.
Emilyj you are saying that because its tradition that is why there okay with what is happening. This happens every year so it's just tradition and it just doesn’t faze them.
Kiraw- I noticed that too. It's like they are raised that way, so the little kids think that it is normal to kill one of their neighbors with stones. Also one of the ladies said that she remembered it was the day and came running. It sounds like she was excited too.
Do you think everyone does need a scapegoat or do you think we choose to have them so we don't feel guilty? And plus who every said you have to blame everything on someone, I think that often circumstances are to blame.
Meghan - Thanks for the clarification...I knew it had to do with a gun haha
Sabrinad- I'm really curious who started the lottery. Perhaps the name is rigged and the person that draws it knows which one they are choosing. Maybe they only started it so that they could seek revenge on certain people.
pregunta:What elements of the story could some one defend as gothic without reading the end or knowing that it was gothic?Do you think this story is only gothic at the end. ALSOLast night I watched the movie Premonition and I noticed that just like this story, I wouldn't have known it was a scary movie from just watching it without bsckground knowledge. However in the movie they had really creepy music and they way they filmed was eerie, were there those kinds of clues in "The Lottery"?
KennaW~True! I never noticed that…but why would they sacrifice the entire town to exterminate the odd balls by chance? Although, now to contradict myself :), how would you get rid of the odd balls of society? I guess, instead of “shunning” them like we do in our society, they just stone them. Ouch.
Mac- Yeah i definitely saw the connection there. In both movies the black box determines either life, death, or big secrets that can change the outcome of the future!
Something that surprised me: the term "lottery" usually has a positive connotation. When someone says they have won the lottery, they usually win a prize, or a LOT of money (anything beneficial). I've never heard of a lottery resulting in negative consequences, much less death. Did anyone else notice this?
Delaney- I think that adjectives pose something of a contradictory mood in this story. I noticed this especially during the time with the town is gathering for the Lottery, with the use of words such as 'cheerfully' and 'humoredly' when it is, in fact, a grim mood. I think that this represents the wave of denial that reigns over the town in regards to The Lottery. They want it to seem like it really isn't much of a big deal that members of their community were about to be heartlessly murdered.Thoughts?
Sabrina~That's exactly what i thought!!! Like I said to Alexf, I think the lottery was fixed for people who didn't fit into society and disrupted it.
mattn~ I disagree that it was rigged, how could they rig something like that? Mr. Summer's did not chose which paper someone picked?
marissas - I think it's that natural human instinct to survive that causes us to use scapegoats and excuses.
hannahl- That is what I thought too, about it having more meaning than just a draw. I was thinking that it had to be sacrificial or for religeous purposes.
the last comment by millisa was rachel s comment
mollys- That is EXACTLY what I was thinking!
laurenc- No problem. A lot of people play Russian roulette just for the fun of it. I think it's kind of the same for the tradition of the lottery. The main purpose for the lottery may have started out as some sort of adrenaline rush for the people in the town, to see who would live and who would die. It's twisted, but hey, some people like that kind of extreme adrenaline rush. Do you think that could be possible?
mattn- I know! I feel like in every story we have read, there is one object that holds secrets that symbolizes the mental or physical state of teh main character. Like in The Others, with the house holding her secrets.
AlexF-good point about "getting rid of the odd balls"; but why would Tessie, the wife, have gotten chosen to be stoned. ouch.
emilyj- I noticed this too. Everyone acted excited at the beginning, like the little kids. Wouldn't you think that people wouldn't come to this if they knew there was a chance that they would be killed?
DelaneyN-Thank you for that definition, it really shed a different light onto the story. I never really thought of the idea that it could possibly be rigged when the true definition of the lottery was characterised by chance. Shirley Jackson went a little Poe on us there with her contraditions of herself.
Emily- I noticed this not only with just the term the Lottery, but also all of the word choices, the moods and characters' actions versus their words. Do you think that this is trying to make a point about the story and the community?
What do all of you think about the names of the characters? Chelsea brought up a really interesting point.
This is Rachel S-So people were saying that it was fair if it wasn't rigged but i really don't think that it was fair. Because it's not, that one person is stoned and the rest live. Just because the math makes it an equall chance does not mean it's fair.
To all who responded to one of my first question:A lot of you said that it’s just like seeing a face on the news of someone who died…it never affects you until it hits home. Well, maybe what Shirley Jackson is trying to say is that this isn’t good!? I think that it’s horrible that we don’t really care about those who we don’t know (I do it too), but is Jackson trying to tell us that we need to take care of everyone and be concerned with everyone because one day, it may be you!
Megan - I think you're absolutely right. A lot of people, and we can probably all think of friends we know, do things they shouldn't do to get that adrenaline rush or just to see if they can do it and get away with it. It's almost like it's for the thrill more then anything. Which reminds me of whoever said here on the blog that if crime is legal the crime rates might go down because you are allowed to get this rush once a month. Interesting to think about..
mollys- was it truly supposed to be a grim mood? If the author used those kinds of words you would think that they are wanting to go to the event. Perhaps they know that they are safe. Atleast, the people that are happy know that they are sage.
Roser~Well, did you notice that she was late to the lottery and she said that it had completely “slipped her mind”? All the people in the town were “excited” for the lottery and here, Mrs. Hutchinson had just completely forgetten…=oddball?! Ouch.
Alexf~ I never thought of that either! Although I don't think they were trying to sacrifice the entire town. I think they had it for a reason to get rid of the oddballs instead of shunning them. So they got together to make it seem like chance, but everyone knew all along. The husband of her wasn't that sad if you think about it nor did he protest her death. Yeah, I completely agree that stoning is over the top, but maybe that's just the first thing that popped into their head so that they oddballs wouldn't get to argue to stay or cause a fight or more problems. Death was the easiest way to get rid of them for good and not cause an uprise as well.
shannonp- Reading the story, my primary impression was that there was nothing that sketchy about it. But after the end and rereading the story, I noticed things such as interesting contrasting comparisons of adjectives: opposing feelings. "Humorlessly and nervously..." So it goes.
Alexf - But it's very hard to cry for someone we never knew. Think about it. Do you actually feel deeply sad when you hear these things on the news? I admit I feel bad but I hear it so often that it doesn't affect me any more. But can we really gain back our sentiments? Or is this impossible?
The inner circle is talking alot about names right now and I think that the author used names to get the reader connected to the characters so that they would feel something when a tragic event occurs.
katep- Like I said before, I think the lottery started out as an adrenaline rush but then became a town tradition. People showed up because it did in fact become tradition if not for the rush to see who would walk away and who would be stoned to death.
alexf-I didn't feel like she was trying to say something about the anonymity of the deaths, but the total unprovoked nature of them. I felt like she was trying to emphasize how horrible it is to be killed for no reason at all.
alexf~ Good point! You can also take another sid to that argument. Such as the people in the community has become numb to death and killing because they have seen it so much. That is waht causes it to continue.
Whitney~ Just like Mrs. Hutchinson said, he didn't have enough time to pick.
shannanp---I don't think it's only Gothic at the end. The paradox makes it Gothic...it takes place in a small town on a warm summer day. Small towns are usually associated with strong values and a peaceful, relaxed way of life, and on a warm summer day, it's like nothing can go wrong, right? It's like the little girls in the horror film pictures---they are the last thing you'd associate with fright and evil, so that's what makes them perfect for this genre of movie.
This is Karly-The quote brought up in the inner circle "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon" really stood out to me.Do you think that the ceremony represents good luck or something? Also, I thought that it was strange that the town sees the loss of the lottery as a loss of civilization and they compare it to living in caves, but the lottery itself is very barberic.
Thanks to your responce to my question guys! Shannon- I liked your connection to premonition. I saw that too and looked for gothic clues in the beginning and couldn't find any. I wonder if this was a movie, would they include it
Lauren- See I was thinking on the train of thought that the Lottery was a form of sacrifice and they truely thought that they wouldn't be able to function beyond it. This only leaves me to wonder however, as to why they haven't noted the success of the other towns that have eliminated it
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