Domestic Demonism: 'The Lottery by Essay

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Likewise, "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor illustrates the cruelties of modern life. It too begins with ominous foreshadowing. The efforts of the old grandmother to look beautiful foreshadow her fate: "Her collars and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet. In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady." The attitude of the family is evident early on when visiting a roadside diner: "No I certainly wouldn't,' June Star said. 'I wouldn't live in a broken-down place like this for a million bucks!' And she ran back to the table." The intrusion of the Misfit into the 'happy' (yet really unhappy) middle-class family's ordinary road trip ironically highlights the pettiness of their concerns, rather than the serial killer's. "It was the same case with Him [Jesus] as with me except He hadn't committed any crime and they could prove I had committed one because they had the papers on me." The wording of this explanation of his actions suggests, in O'Connor's moral schema, that the Misfit functions more as a force of nature, in contrast to the stoning in the Jackson tale. While reading "The Lottery," the reader wants to make the lottery stop; O'Connor's Misfit seems like an instrument of divine comeuppance or judgment, especially given the grandmother's religious revelation at the end of the tale before she dies. Flannery O'Connor, wrote Walter Elder in the Kenyon Review upon the publication of O'Connor's collection of stories, believes in a transcendent Christian vision and morality that must rise above the petty nature of modern life. "Miss O'Connor would have us believe that the only hope of salvation lies in the mercy of action. It grows out of agony, which is not denied to any man and is given in strange ways to children" (Elder 665). All human life is false, not just this particular American brand of falseness, suggests Elder in O'Connor's universe.

Because they often focus on what might be called the mundane and the everyday, during their lifetimes, Flannery O'Connor and Shirley Jackson were often compared with one another as authors. Jackson's "moments of gracelessness" stand as "counterpoints" to Flannery O'Connor's redemptive "moments of grace," wrote Tricia Lootens (Lootens 161). Although both author's views of human society and human nature are dark, in Jackson's vision there is no final redemption, no flash of insight. Instead, there is merely a narrow-minded cry of 'that's not fair' before death, rather than appreciation of the common, human bond expressed by the grandmother when she says the Misfit could have been "one of her own babies." If anything has changed in "The Lottery," it is only in the mind of the reader, who is encouraged to more critically evaluate his or her society; the characters themselves remain the same internally as well as externally, in contrast to the grandmother of "A Good Man is Hard to Find."

Works Cited

Elder, Walter. "That Region." The Kenyon Review. 17.4. (Autumn, 1955): 661-670.

October 7, 2008 06:02 Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4333623

Jackson, Shirley. "The Lottery." Classic Short Stories. October 7, 2008. http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/lotry.html

Lootens, Tricia. "Shirley Jackson: A Study of the Short Fiction by Joan Wylie Hall." South

Atlantic Review. 59. 1. (Jan., 1994): 160-162. October 7, 2008. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3200963

O'Connor, Flannery. "A Good Man is Hard to Find." Turkshead library index. October 7, 2008. http://www.turksheadreview.com/library/texts/oconnor-goodmanhard.html

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Elder, Walter. "That Region." The Kenyon Review. 17.4. (Autumn, 1955): 661-670.

October 7, 2008 06:02 Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4333623

Jackson, Shirley. "The Lottery." Classic Short Stories. October 7, 2008. http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/lotry.html

Lootens, Tricia. "Shirley Jackson: A Study of the Short Fiction by Joan Wylie Hall." South

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