Commentary on Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery

In the reading Peter Kosenko develops new views of the short story “The Lottery”. One perspective he presents is how democratic intentions could be hidden in the text.

What is seen as an ancient tradition might not be so far from reality as we think. With modern methods, the most powerful people in the small town holds the inhabitants in an iron grip. The author suggests that “The lottery’s democratic illusion, then, as an ideological effect that prevents the villagers from criticizing the class structure of their society” something that agrees with modern-day methods. I approve upon the quote and evidence could be found in the text. Therefore this essay is destined to present what supports the facts that the rules of the tradition make it almost impossible to put an end to. The most powerful people in the town also control the lottery, something that is not a co-incidence according to the reading.

They have both economical and political impact and one central part is Mr Summer’s coal company. Mr Graves and Mr Martin with families make up an important upper class in the town. As the powerful men they are, it is natural that the liability of the lottery is up on their responsibility. It is clear that without a proper management, the lottery would not exist so these people have an important role of the systems. Kosenko explains: “ [] it is no coincidence that the lottery takes place between the post-office and the bank- two buildings which represent government and finance, the institutions from which Summers, Graves and Martin derive their power”. However, the author asks himself “What relationship is there between his interest as the town’s wealthiest businessman and his officiating the lottery?”, a very central question to be asked about Mr Summers and the others. To answer he explains that the villagers are conscious about what they are doing and about the dreadful outcome whilst they unconsciously believe that .

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