The Lottery, And Kurt Vonnegut Jr. 's Harrison Bergeron

970 Words Mar 28th, 2016 4 Pages
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s “Harrison Bergeron” both paint fairly morbid pictures of what extreme conformity can do in society. The two stories have vastly different settings and employ dissimilar approaches to the subject of conformity. Despite this, they both suggest that the need to conform, which is encouraged by American society, is dangerous and can lead to the loss of freedoms and loss of life. The two also insinuate that standing up to authority for purely selfish reasons is pointless.
“Harrison Bergeron”, written in 1961, is set in the year 2081. It tells the story of a future America where human equality is forced through the use of rudimentary devices that handicap above average people. The story’s baseline for average is a fairly low one, and the collective dumbing down has produced a society with almost no attention span and very little independent thought.
“The Lottery” is more ambiguous with its setting, as the exact location and year where the story takes place are omitted. The rather simple character names, and the lack of any overt accents when the characters speak make it easy to imagine the story happening almost any time and place in America. In a small nondescript village, the inhabitants practice a lottery ritual where the “winner” is stoned to death in the end. No one in town questions the absurdity of murdering one of their own. They even go as far as to include children in the stoning, showing just how far their adherence…
Open Document