Marxist Shirley Jackson 's The Lottery

1113 WordsMay 25, 20175 Pages
As a high-handed government is allowed to rule freely over the citizens, yearly tradition becomes engraved into the minds of the working class. Many that people follow simply because that is what has always been done. These can range from harmless traditions such as easter egg hunts and Christmas trees to far more harmful traditions such as killings. Marxist Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is a frightening example of what happens when society can only distinguish two classes, specifically the oppressed working class and the wealthy class. This is made clear through the characterization of the higher class, as well as the lower class, and the effects within the norms of a social construct that has led them to carry out the lottery…show more content…
Over all, the upper class establishes control through fear. The lower class, on the other hand, is composed of workers who are not allowed to doubt the authority. It is clear that some in this working class wish to rebel and overthrow their oppressors. Mrs. Hutchinson is the first example of this, “Just as Mr. Summers finally left off talking and turned to the assembled villagers, Mrs. Hutchinson came hurriedly along the path to the square, her sweater thrown over her shoulders, and slid into place in the back of the crowd” (2). In being late to the lottery, Mrs. Hutchinson communicates her distaste for the community leadership and the lottery. She “slides into place” just as he has finished speaking, showing her disrespect for his words and ideas. Those who do not rebel against the lottery share a silent fear of it, “A sudden hush fell through the crowd as Mr. Summers cleared his throat and looked at the list” (3). Kept tired and ignorant by their leaders, they do not realize the true source of their problems, and do not push for rebellion. Because of this large difference between the classes, social change is made extremely difficult. This is expressed mainly through symbolism. First, Mr. Summers’s insistence that the box be changed: “Every year after the lottery, Mr. Summers began talking again about a new

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