Jackson begins by enumerating the total population of the village, mentioning that it contained about three hundred people. Villages are often comprised of a small number of people, the majority of whom know each other. The setting in this story is significant as it creates a contrast between what these villages ought to be and what they are. Details provided in the story such as the imagery of “the flowers were blooming profusely…” paint a picture of an ordinary gentle summers in a village. There is emphasis on nature in the environment to indicate the quality of life in a typical village. The beginning of the story creates a scene of young boys playing with stones, gathering them in certain places. It would be an ordinary event in any village to find young boys playing together and being violent to some extreme. In many aspects, Jackson creates a setting of a normal village, describing events without fully explaining them, until the end of the story when everything comes to make sense. Jackson’s description of the environment, the events people undertake in, the location of the lottery, and the contrast in population with other villages represent a typical quality of life in a village.
The lottery begins by everyone congregating at the square. Each household stands together, children by the sides of their parents. Mr. Summers is then sworn in by the postmaster to conduct the event. The names of the men in the village are called and they proceed to each select a paper, keen not to look at those papers until everyone collects a paper. If the member of a family picked a paper with the black dot, the entire family returned their papers to the pot and selected again. The member who got the paper with the black dot was then stoned to death. According to the story, members of this village participate in this annual stoning as an offering to the gods in exchange for a good harvest. The theme that can be found in this story is the importance of questioning traditions. These people have been doing this for years, stoning an innocent person annually. There is no direct evidence that if they stopped, their harvest would be bad. Questioning traditions would implore people to stop for a minute and consider the rationality of their actions. This is an example of a pointless tradition passed from one generation to the next.
This is a story by the legendary author Kate Chopin, in which Alcee shelters from the storm at the house of Calixta, his former lover. Alcee seeks to shelter at the house of Calixta during the storm that caught her husband and son at the store. These two had an affair six months ago and had deep-seated intentions to elope together. However, they were both married to different people at the time. Calixta is married to Bobinot and they have a son, Bibi. Alcee and Calixta have a sexual encounter that ends at the same time the storm ends. Alcee is married to Clarisse who is away with their children. The majority of the action in this story is set in Louisiana where some of the characters in the story live. Alcee and Calixta are not only trapped in the house by the storm, they are also trapped in their lives and unable to escape to be with one another, leaving behind their respective families. It is the storm that forces them to be together in this instance, while ensuring that Calixta’s husband cannot come home and find them being intimate. The setting ensures that the four main characters, husbands and wives are separated, but the two individuals that had an affair find themselves together. The setting serves to amplify the reader’s understanding of the characters and their traits. Calixta’s willingness to break the rules and engage in adultery differs from the mindset of the villagers in The Lottery. Calixta had an affair with Alcee six months ago and they even planned to elope. While marriages are designed to be a sacred bond between two people, Calixta is willing to break off that commitment and seek what fulfills her. On the other hand, the villagers have stuck with a useless tradition for over seventy years. There is no proof it works, but they are unwilling to stop it voluntarily.
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