Why The Lottery is a Dystopia

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The fictional short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, discusses the themes of unjustified crimes and nature of evil in humans. This fictional text depicts a community of villagers who hold as part of their tradition an annual lottery. In this essay I will discuss how the structure of the fictional world as a Dystopia helps the reader to understand the overall message behind by the implied author’s criticism of the text.

Dystopia is a term refers to a fictitious text the author depicts in the future. That has relevance to the actual world of the author. The author uses it to criticize a specific phenomenon in the society. Through this dystopia the author draws attention and warns the society about this phenomenon. just like “the lottery” where the criticism of old traditions in this text is noticed by the implied author.

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Firstly, Jackson creates designs a peaceful setting in the beginning of the story which conveys sarcasm. the story starts with “The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.”(Jackson p.291). this scene describes a simple and regular day in this village. Later on, All the residents meet to practice the “lottery”. the purpose of the lottery was to make sure that they will get a good crop season. Old Man Warner one of the characters believes that it “Used to be a saying about 'Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.' “(Jackson, p.297) In addition, the characters’ activities are normal. For example, Children “[tend]to gather together quietly for a while before they [break] into boisterous play.” (Jackson, p.291) and Men “[speak] of planting and rain” (p.291). However, this ritual which appears a positive happy event at the beginning, becomes deadly as the story escalates. And to the readers surprise the lottery causes a murder.

Society grow more attached to traditions which is obvious in the text when they refuse to replace the black box with a newer one and when “Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box…no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box.” (Jackson, p.292). The result of this actions is that society becomes blinded and the villagers cannot understand anymore whether they should continue with the lottery or not even when they realize later on that it’s unfair. Even the children do not question their parents about their traditions. They act without thinking of consequences and follow their parents lead. Not to mention that the color Black is connected to death. This leaves the reader a clue that something bad will happen. In addition, the stones used in this ritual is deliberate because it is an easy weapon to use by kids and adults Also, easy to collect them. As the children “[make] a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and [guard] it against the raids of the other boys.” (Jackson, p.291).

Although this is a fictional text, it is also a possible world. As discussed in class the fictional world can be possible, impossible or improbable world. Comparing the fictional world structure as a dystopian world is similar to the consensus reality of the implied author which makes it a possible world with an ordinary human characters and realistic scenery. but it is different from the values of this consensus reality. Consensus reality is the essential morals of the world. it’s the realism and facts that people agreed on in a specific period. And the implied author “refers to the author-image evoked by a work and constituted by the stylistic, ideological, and aesthetic properties for which indexical signs can be found in the text.” (Schmid, LHN) In other words the implied author is the impressions about the voice behind the text after reading the text. It is not the author himself but a voice that conveys norms and certain values. The implied author helps the reader to understand more about the text in addition it delivers a message to the implied reader which is the target audience that Jackson aims to deliver the message to.

according to the text the values of consensus reality of the implied author is that murder is not an acceptable thing. Society should not follow traditions without considering the situation.

But in the fictional world we notice the opposite, murder is acceptable, and people don’t question their ancestor’s lifestyle. Also, Elders cannot be opposed such as the Old Man Warner when being asked about the other villagers who gave up the lottery, he says 'Pack of young fools.'(Jackson, p.297) And women have a minor rule in this society. When Mrs. Hutchinson shows late to the event because she washed the dishes and says “Wouldn't have me leave m'dishes in the sink, now, would you. Joe?.' (Jackson, p.295).

The construction of this fictional world as a possible fictional world makes it easier for the reader to imagine a possibility of this fictional world in the reality of the reader, so the message will become clearer that anyone can be the “winner” and die including men women or little children because they all make a draw. Moreover, anyone can participate in this terrible crime, as seen in the text when “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example “(Jackson, p.291) and when “the villagers moved in on [Tessie]” (Jackson, p.301) we notice their lack of human sympathy. They ignorantly attack an innocent person from their society which proves the evil instinct in human nature that is shown when provoked. Another example when two women say, “Seems like we got through with the last one only last week.' (Jackson, p.296) As if it is not considered a hideous crime.

The fictional world of the story shows the morals and viewpoints of the consensus reality of the implied author after World War II in three years. In this period Jackson was part of the Vermont community. The nature of the war left a violent and brutal society, and it may have affected the genre of the story white it is written. Jackson tries to educate and warn the society by composing a dystopian text that’s rich with all the elements previously discussed in this essay.

The message of 'The Lottery' asks us to think about the purpose of the traditions before we unthinkingly follow as members in society that may lead to hurt innocent people. Also, this text teaches how evil can exist in humans thus, stripping them from innocence and morals. Even when the family members act selfishly towards each other and search individual profits thus safety.

To conclude, this text presents the destructive result from blindly following traditions and the consequences of savagery in the society. The message is Implied by the criticism and structure of this fictional text represented in the implied author. Moreover, the implied author of this dystopian text supports a non-violent, non-conformist viewpoint.

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Why The Lottery is a Dystopia. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/why-the-lottery-is-a-dystopia/
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Why The Lottery is a Dystopia [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 08 [cited 2024 Jul 14]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/why-the-lottery-is-a-dystopia/

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