The Lottery and the Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas
The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas “Perhaps it would be best if you imagined it as your fancy bids, assuming it will rise to the occasion, for certainly I cannot suit you all. ” This is an open invitation for you, the reader, in the short story “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.
” Ursula K. Le Guin is simply inviting you to become her main character. How might you accept or deny this malicious request? It is quite simple, really. To accept it is to read on, and to deny it is to disembark in the endeavor. The city of joy, your own Omelas, is developing continuously in your head. How sweet it is.The image of the bay surrounded by the mountains with Ursula’s white-gold fire enchanting the air.
Oh, and one cannot forget the tantalizing orgy custom fit to your most personal delights. Can you even begin to imagine the mere possibility of an association between religion and sexual pleasure without the possible deviance of human authority? It all seems nearly ovenvhelming. The fascination continues with every moment of lustful anticipation. One cannot deny their own perversion long enough to stop engaging in a plot that might encourage it. But there is a catch of course, for there is always a catch.This particular one is quite deviant really, for this city is a complete deception. It is a place of lamentation and punishment.
It is a prison that simply provokes the archaic smiles described within the sentences. How best can one describe the goal of such a story? I believe I shall attempt to do so by describing the main character, you of course! You are presented with three stages and then you are given three questions. In the end, it will be your duty to determine the final event. Create-a-meal, no my friend, instead you are given the tools to create-a-setting.You are presented with brilliant horses and jubilant music, bright colors and beautiful scenery, a blissful introduction, indeed. Shockingly enough, in the second paragraph it is quickly taken away from you. A dagger penetrates your balloon image.
You are told that the smiles and happiness of the city are not genuine. Ursula K. Le Guin states it painlessly by writing, “All smiles have become archaic…. Given a description such as this one tends to look next for the king, mounted on a splendid stallion and surrounded by his noble knights.
… but there is no king. Ironically the serene description continues. You complete the image of your joyful city. You are then given the first of three questions.
This question is quickly answered for you. You are told that you do not truly believe in this city. At least you are told that you do not believe in it just yet. The second part of the story involves a fantastic circumstance. You are forced fed the image of a starving, suffering, and begging child. You are told that this child is kept in a small room filled with its own excretions. You are told that the entire city knows of the child and does nothing to help it.
As your stomach fills with butterflies and your head fills with images of your brother or of your sister, or maybe your niece or nephew, festered and scared, your mind contemplates any possible reason for the inhumane behavior of these people. You are then told that the child’s misery insures the happiness and prosperity of the entire city. Here you are presented with the antagonist of the story. Suddenly you realize that the antagonist is you. This is presented to you through the main conflict in the story. The conflict, is man verses himself or in this case you verse yourself.Finally you arrive at the closing of the story.
You are given a way out of the prison of Omelas. You are told that there are those who see the child and chose to walk away from Omelas. They chose to walk away from everything within it. You are not promised happiness or freedom. In fact you are told that you must walk away alone into the darkness. You are only presented with one grain of hope. You are told that the ones who do walk away from Omelas look as if they know right where they are going.
The story does not end there. Of course not, you must write your own ending.Do you stay in the city of joy or do you accept the challenge of human dignity and walk away? Will you throw away the happiness of thousands for the chance of the happiness of one? That is the main intent of this work. Ursula K. Le Guin is simply throwing her question on to you. The Lottery Symbolism In Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” symbols are used to enhance and stress the theme of the story. A symbol is a person, object, action, place, or event that in addition to its literal meaning, suggests a more complex meaning or range of meanings.
Kirszner & Mendell 330) The theme of the story is how coldness and lack of compassion can be exhibited in people in situations regarding tradition and values. That people will do incredibly evil and cruel things just for the sake of keeping a routine. Three of the main symbols that Shirley uses in the story is the setting, black box, and the actual characters names. They all tie together to form an intriguing story that clearly shows the terrible potential if society forgets the basis of tradition. The story also shows many similarities between the culture of the village, and the culture of Nazi Germany.How blind obedience to superiors can cause considerable damage to not only a community, but the entire world. Symbolism plays a large role in “The Lottery” to set the theme of the story and make the reader question traditions.
One of the main symbols of the story is the setting. It takes place in a normal small town on a nice summer day. “The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full summer day; the flowers were blooming profusely and the grass was richly green. ” (Jackson 347). This tricks the reader into a disturbingly unaware state, and to believe the lottery is something wonderful like it is today.The small town atmosphere and beautiful summer day symbolize the idealistic picture most Americans have of what is right and good about this country. This is reinforced by the fact that the lottery is held in the same place as many of the town’s celebrations such as the square-dances, teenage club, and the Halloween program, and clearly shows how easy it is for people to clear their conscience of such horrible actions by being able to have such joyous occasions in the same place.
The attitude and actions of the characters slightly allude to the reader that something is amiss, but causes little cause for concern or suspicion.The children were playing and building rock piles. The men were talking about rain, taxes, and tractors while the women gossiped. But there was little laughter between the adults, and they stayed completely away from the rock piles. The setting of the town and the actions of the characters symbolize what many believe to be “right” in America. The second main symbol in “The Lottery” is the black box. The black box is where the townspeople drew strips of paper from to determine who is the “winner”.
It was very old and even older than the oldest member of the town.Summers, Graves, Old Man Warner, Delacroix and Hutchinson are excellent examples. Old Man Warner is probably the most obviously symbolic character of the story. Every word that leaves Old Man Warner’s Mouth reeks of tradition. He never stops criticizing new ideas about the lottery, the way it is run, or complaining about how things have changed for the worst. When Mr. Adams comments on how a village up north had was talking of giving up the lottery Old Man Warner replied: “Pack of Crazy Fools? Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them.
Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to live in caves, nobody work anymore, live that way for a while. ” (Jackson 350) He is clinging to tradition, even some that are no longer observed, and totally unwilling to let go of the ones that are still practiced, in spite of how ludicrous they might be. It has always been done that way before so why change things now? He is the ideal symbol of everything that is wrong with tradition. Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves both symbolize authority and how it can be used to coerce the masses. While neither Mr.
Graves nor Mr.Summers are tyrannical, awe inspiring, or otherwise persuasive leaders, the townspeople follow them. Mr. Summers’ name symbolizes life but in reality it is he who is in charge of the lottery which instead of giving life to its winner it gives death. Graves is the man who carries in the black box and the three-legged stool. It is also from Mr. Graves whom the citizens get the papers from, therefore it is almost like he is the one who has the most influence over whose grave it will be next.
The Hutchinson Family is both symbolic of internal faults that all humans have, such as cowardice and indifference.Bill Hutchinson is apparently so scared of saying no to authority that he will not take the necessary steps to protect his family. Mrs. Hutchinson is a perfect example of how evil exists in everyone and when pushed it can take a mother to risk her own child’s safety. Since she was willing to demand that her married daughter take part in the drawing just to improve her own chances of survival. Mrs. Delacroix’s name means of the cross in Latin, and even though she is a friend of Mrs.
Hutchinson she picks up the largest rock and encourages the other people to commence the stoning. The names of all the prominent characters in The Lottery” support the idea that everybody hides their evil nature by way of hypocrisy, and their actions symbolize various forms of negativity. “The Lottery” was first released in 1948 to a post-world war II audience that was appalled by Nazi Germany’s treatment “lesser people”. Readers were horrified that something so similar to a mini holocaust could happen in their own country. There were many Americans who, after the end of World War II and the revelations of the early Nuremberg trials in 1945 and 1946, smugly asserted that such atrocities could happen in Nazi Germany but not in the United States.After all, singling out one person, one religion, one race for pejorative treatment–these things just could not happen here. (Yarmove) Both these problems were caused by the blind following of people by those they feel are superior.
They do no ask themselves “Why am I doing this? ” or object to what they are told to do. They simply fall in with the majority and do not do what they believe is right. The cultures of the community in “The Lottery” and Nazi Germany have more in common than most people would like to believe.In Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” she masterfully uses symbolism to convey a meaning that is not only shocking, but disturbing. She demonstrates the problems of following traditions that have become outdated and pointless. And she exposes many of the flaws of human nature. The symbolism of “The Lottery” runs deeper than the character Tessie Hutchinson.
Jackson, in her short story, deliberately sequenced events so they would symbolically send a message to the reader. As a result, Tessie is forced to bear the brunt of the symbolism for unexamined and unchanging traditions throughout time.One possibility is that the people of this village of this village are looking for a scapegoat. A person to take the blame for mistakes and sins of others, so one person dies for a community and saves the community from whatever sins that had been committed The differences between “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin seem relatively minor when compared to the striking similarities they contain in setting, symbols, and theme. Each of the stories begin with a description of a beautiful summer day. The flowers were blooming profusely and the grass was richly green”(para 1) in “The Lottery” is quite comparable to “old moss-grown gardens and under avenues of trees”(para 1) in “.
.. Omelas. ” These descriptions (along with several others) provide positive connotations and allow the reader to relax into what seems to be a comfortable setting in either story. Both stories also contain a gathering of townspeople. In “..
. Omelas there is music, dance, and special attire incorporated in the gathering, whereas in “The Lottery,” the women show up “wearing faded house dresses and sweaters. ” Although Le Guin’s envir…