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Essay on The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson and Eudora Welty’s A Worn Path

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In literature there are many different critical views, in which all of them have very distinctive ideas and beliefs. The value of these critical views is decided by the reader and may be different to each one. When a reader approaches a work of literature they bring their own views and experiences with them, so each reader will read each story differently. And even the same reader will never read the same story the same way twice due to things that may have changed in his or her life. In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” (509-15) and Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path” (568-74) one reader my feel sympathy while another does not fill anything. So what is the “correct” response to these stories?
In “The Lottery” the author uses many different types of themes to inspire the reader to feel certain emotions. Themes such as the perils of blindly sticking to outdated traditions. Traditions such as sacrificial murder in which some ancient societies believed that “Life brings death, and death recycles life” (Griffin); this shows how some readers could accept the actions depicted in this story. Yet another way of looking at it and finding a way to accept it is that it’s been said that capital punishment today is a form of ritualistic killing. But other readers may just see it as cold blooded murder in which they may be appalled that some societies could still do this in 1948 when this story was written.
The next theme used by the author to inspire a feeling of despair in this story is the randomness of persecution. By making the villagers draw these slips of paper once a year would provoke a feeling of hopelessness. Because they know that no matter what they do one day they may be subjected to this brutal death. And it woul...


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...s sometimes they have a very set meaning to what that story is supposed to be about and sometimes they don’t but in almost every case you can read further into what they are saying by just paying attention to how it makes you feel as you read it.



Works Cited

Griffin, Amy. "Jackson The Lottery." Explicator 58.1 (1999): Academic Search Elite. n. page. Web. 10 May 2011.
Kirszner, Laurie G., and Stephen T Mandell. Shirley Jackson. “The Lottery.” Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. 7th ed. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010. 509-15. Print.
Kirszner, Laurie G., and Stephen T. Mandell. Eudora Welty. “A Worn Path.” Literature:
Reading, Reacting, Writing. 7th ed. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010.
568-74. Print.
Sykes, Dennis. "Welty's The Worn Path." Explicator 56.3 (1998): Academic Search Elite. 151. Web. 10 May 2011.


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