Lottery by Sharley Jackson

Poetry, prose, and all that jazz. And unit 10 of Authentic English Readings for Advanced Students.
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(106)Yeongseok Kim
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Lottery by Sharley Jackson

Post by (106)Yeongseok Kim » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:49 pm

Hi guys, we've read the very short and freakingly weird story "lottery". Lottery usually means something that could get you some money. But in this story, Lottery is the fastest path leading to "Death", which was quite unexpectable. Death, and lottery. lottery and death. Those two concepts, I think, never get along together. But only in this story, they do.
The element that combines those two concepts is "an old tradition that had been around for a long time". Tradition itself is very powerful to the extent that nobody is willing to change it even though that tradition is being used as a tool to murder a innocent person for nothing.
Tradition doesn't always come with positive sides--this is one of messages, I think, the author wants to deliver.
and What else do you think the author wants to say??

(106)Lee Hyunjeong
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Re: Lottery by Sharley Jackson

Post by (106)Lee Hyunjeong » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:15 am

I also think the author wanted to tell about 'tradition' through symbolized word 'lottery'. And also the author was trying to show a foreshadow by describing the background. Specifically, at the first part of the story, there comes summer and grave. Glorious and bright summer and gloomy grave, I thinkg these two contrasted backgrounds are dropping a hint of the end of the story, throwing stones at a person, namely, dark and sad conclusion. Furthermore, deciding the title of this story 'The Lottery' like the Korean novel '운수 좋은 날', I think the author was trying to give shock and criticize the old tradition.

(106)이양우
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Re: Lottery by Sharley Jackson

Post by (106)이양우 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:55 am

Reading this short story, I was actually a bit astoninshed. As many people think, lottery is something that gives a price to the winner. So naturally, i guessed that the winner of the lottery in this story may get some kinds of benefit. However, as I went through the story I found how people were actually feeling reluctant to win the lottery. The most surprising part was the last scene of the story. At the beginning we could find out how the people of the village greet themselves, and how children play with joy is described with specifications. On the contrary, as a winner comes out from the lottery, their attitutes change 180 degrees, and it was a little scary.

(106) Sanggyun Kim
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Re: Lottery by Sharley Jackson

Post by (106) Sanggyun Kim » Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:36 pm

Hi, I agree on what you said 'Tradition doesn't always come with positive sides--this is one of messages'.
I also think, as I mentiones in the small group disscusion of the class, it is about 'trust'. As you mentioned, people is not willing to change their tradition. I think it is a kind of trust. So, I think the author want to say about negative aspects of blind trust.
As I mentioned in the class, there are a few examples which is similar to this. First, as a tradition, there was '순장' . But fortunately this was disappeared. Another is extremists. They believe something extremely. It is really hard to change their mind. THe problem is they sometimes do the extrem things, such as terror.

(106)YoonsilJang
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Re: Lottery by Sharley Jackson

Post by (106)YoonsilJang » Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:31 pm

I agree with your opinion that the author wanted to point out bad customs and tradition doesn’t always come with positive sides. I also think the title ‘lottery’ is very good in terms of irony, like LeeHyunjung.
At the same time, I think we can read brutality of human being through the story ‘Lottery’. If there is no brutality in human nature and ‘lottery’ only means one tradition, no more to the people, it can’t be possible to be subsisted for a long time. We can find similar case in our society. For example, bullying someone is a big problem in everywhere, but it almost always exists in every society. The connivance is more serious issue of bullying, but I think it also exposes our brutality like lottery. The author intended to give us a sharp warning about our cruelty.

(106) Bora Im
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Re: Lottery by Sharley Jackson

Post by (106) Bora Im » Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:42 pm

(106)Lee Hyunjeong wrote:I also think the author wanted to tell about 'tradition' through symbolized word 'lottery'. And also the author was trying to show a foreshadow by describing the background. Specifically, at the first part of the story, there comes summer and grave. Glorious and bright summer and gloomy grave, I thinkg these two contrasted backgrounds are dropping a hint of the end of the story, throwing stones at a person, namely, dark and sad conclusion. Furthermore, deciding the title of this story 'The Lottery' like the Korean novel '운수 좋은 날', I think the author was trying to give shock and criticize the old tradition.

Wow, such a nice idea that you thought '운수 좋은 날'!

(106) Bora Im
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Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:53 am

the story of what is missing.

Post by (106) Bora Im » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:17 pm

I really like your opinion which points out the novel's theme as a negative side of tradition. And I got almost same impression as yours.

However, two changes about lottery ceremony drew my eyes. First, wooden chips were replaced by slips of paper. Second, there used to be a song and salute during the lottery event, but they have been lost. The first change was so trivial that it brought no real change. However, villagers might believe that they inherit the ceremony successfully by innovation. The second change convince readers that villagers does not think about the real purpose of the tradition. Song and salute of the past might be considered as a manner for a scapegoat, but today, people only hurry for a noon dinner.

These two aspects reminded me of absence of careful criticism. Maybe the lottery event might be regarded as a good method in the past. There might be once too many people in the village and they could not afford themselves enough so that this horrible lottery had helped villagers to survive. But we know that stagnant water is bound to corrupt. No matter how novel thing it is, everything will collapse unless we fiercely criticize and reflect its purpose.

106Geehae Kang
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Re: Lottery by Sharley Jackson

Post by 106Geehae Kang » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:22 pm

When I first read this novel, I did get well what the author tried to say. I think this is due to the fact that she described this novel with such effects of Irony. That is to say, the title of this novel, “The Lottery”, and the introduction part of this novel gave me an impression of vivid rural area because the author depicted the background of the novel in such a descriptive manner by using various adjectives. However, it turned out that this story is all about an egregious tradition after all, which is killing people with no rational reason. Thus, a simple delivering manner of the author, contrast to the cruel ending provides readers much bigger shocks at the end of the novel. By doing so, I think the writer reminds readers of how an absurd old tradition is that killing people without any appropriate reason.

(106)Kwonhee Kang
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Re: Lottery by Sharley Jackson

Post by (106)Kwonhee Kang » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:34 am

I think that this story also shows us the generational conflict. The old man wants to preserve the tradition, but there are also many people who want to stop this stupid tradition. The old man and the younger men don't understand each other, and they do not try to understand each other. I felt that the communication is one of the most important issues not only in todays but also in the past.
In the story, one man says that in some cities, this 'lottery' disappeared. To remove this tradition, there might be a lot of communications between elders and youngers. I think this story can also imply today's communication problems around many parts of the society.

(101)Junho Richard Lee
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Re: Lottery by Sharley Jackson

Post by (101)Junho Richard Lee » Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:06 pm

I agree with your idea that "tradition is not good always." And this short story shows that too well by in exaggerating manner. Actually the people in the village that shown in the story do not know about the ritual fully. There should be a chant and formality for the ritual, but only some of the villigers know that, and even they do not know exactly how to do that. I think this part is showing the author's intention very well. They do not know why do they have to do that ritual, and they do not know how to do that exactly, but they just perform that dumb traditional trash! In contemporary world where we are living now, we would not find the dumb traditional ritual described in the story that we read, but I think there might be some leftovers of the useless and meaningless customs.

(102)Wonjae LEE
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Re: Lottery by Sharley Jackson

Post by (102)Wonjae LEE » Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:01 pm

I think, the author wanted to say that unreasonable things are happening such as killing people who win the lottery, because they are tradition.

(101)Limseounghoon
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Re: Lottery by Sharley Jackson

Post by (101)Limseounghoon » Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:13 pm

I think the lottery background is very vague. Because the arthor wanted to show us that it could be happen anywhere, anytime in the world. He emphasized that this is a common thing. If the arthor mentioned spcific time and place, we think its just historical story. But the arthor did not do that so this short stroy could neglect time and space.

Section 106 – You Hyun Woo
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Re: Lottery by Sharley Jackson

Post by Section 106 – You Hyun Woo » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:27 pm

There are as many as problems ever, because of the wrong thing that still is called tradition or history.
In my opinion, the author wanted to say that the dangerous or risk of blind faith by paralyzing within the limit of tradition.
In general, the meaning of the lottery is concerned with luck. However, in this story, the author shows this theme effectively by using the contradiction between good luck and death

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