An Analysis of Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery' and Flannery O'Connor's 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find'

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Shirley Jackson "The Lottery" Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery" depicts life in a provincial American town with rigid social norms. Mr. Summers symbolizes everything that is wrong with the town; he represents blind adherence to ritual, social rigidity, and resistance to change. His name corresponds with the seasonal setting of "The Lottery," too, drawing attention to the importance of his character in shaping the theme of the story. Summers is in charge of the central motif of the story, the lottery that takes the life of a human being. A predecessor to The Hunger Games, Jackson's "The Lottery" shares in common with its modern counterpart a theme of how groupthink places a stranglehold on both individuals and whole communities. As part of his duties as lottery manager, Summers controls the black box where all the names are placed. None of the townspeople question the insanity of the lottery, and in fact, they revere it as if it were a sacred tradition. It has achieved fetish status. Thus, Jackson draws a close parallel between the ritual of the lottery and the religious rituals that characterize life in small town America. In so doing, Jackson connects herself with Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose writing critiqued small town puritan New England life and its rigid adherence to religious dogma. In "The Lottery," the people resist change just as much as their symbolic priest (Mr. Summers) does. Mr. Summers actually wants to upgrade the box, but the people do not want

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