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“the Rocking-Horse Winner” and “the Lottery”

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Life, Do You Have It?
People tend to lose the sight of what life really is through material things and then attempt to find it in material objects or through someone else or their defeat. Unfortunately at times, it comes to late or for the ultimate price, death, to realize what you may have or haven’t had. In “The Rocking-Horse Winner” and “The Lottery” depicts the value of life through being lucky, the lack of love and the ironic conclusion that nothing is more important than life itself. For example, Paul thought being lucky was the way that life was meant to be and the desire of others to see him at or that winning the prize was actually a misfortune for your life. Paul was showing Uncle Oscar that he could predict an outcome of a race and by doing so, winning more than enough money to make things easier. This money was then used to secretively attempt to buy the love of his mother, Hester. Hester has told Paul that, “It’s what causes you to have money. If you’re lucky you have money”. (Lawrence 236) But in the end, it was Paul’s misfortune when he told his mother “I am lucky!” (Lawrence 245). Due to his unhealthy ambitions, his life was cut short and he never got to experience life at its fullest. Then you have Tessie as the big winner of the “lottery”. At first she was eagerly anticipating the start as she was hurrying to the gathering with her fellow villagers. But then, she changed her tone after she noticed Bill, her husband, had drawn the black dot. She even tried to make a justification as to why it wasn’t fair. But the fellow town folk were not buying it by stating, “Be a good sport, Tessie…we all took the same chance” (Jackson 254). How quickly someone will change their mind if and when their life is on the line. Luck is not all that when it is not in your favor or seems to be not going your way. Likewise, the lack of love is evident by the bitterness towards the husband by Hester and the showing of disrespect from their own children during the unveiling at the lottery. Hester was more of a materialistic person that could not afford her means. So when she became a mother, she had resentment towards her husband because she knew “...they had been thrust upon her, she could not love them”. (Lawrence 235) She then had to mask the love to her children from the society she so much wanted to belong to. The greed had taken over the mother’s heart and she would never be happy and content in her life. Also, the lack of compassion and love towards their own siblings was apparent when the two children “…both beamed and laughed,” (Jackson 255) as they unveiled their unmarked papers, knowing one of the parents, Bill or Tessie Hutchinson, had the black dot. It was also clear when it was stated “…someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles.” to stone his own mother. (Jackson 256) It is obvious what is being taught for the next generation, that life is not important, but winning is.
Finally, how ironic that fortune leads to an end of a life and winning a prize leads to an end of Tessie’s life. Paul attempts to obtain the unobtainable love of his mother, Hester, thru the fortune of his winnings. He never gets to see the ending result of Hester’s love for him but it is made clear to her by the reprimanded comment made by her brother Oscar in it he said, “…he’s best gone out of a life where he rides his rocking-horse to find a winner”. (Lawrence 245) Ironically a prize is being a great gift received from a contest in possible giving ease to a hardship or making a way of life better. How funny it is as how the author changed the atmosphere once the selection of the winner of the prize was determined by the cry of Mrs. Hutchinson, “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her”. (Jackson 256) What a primitive and barbaric way to end one’s life by caring on a tradition. The irony of the prize as a scapegoat or the fortune to replace the emptiness of one’s heart that life is more important. In conclusion, the lesson to be gained here is that life is more important than any other possession, either material or non-material. There will never be enough things, and no possession will ever be more important than someone else and their love. When that’s one's focus, hindrance will eventually take over and you will lose the true possession that everyone should strive to achieve. That one possession is life itself. Difficult times are inevitable, how we learn from them will be our choice. Having an enormously rich and beautiful life in every way will be the ultimate prize to receive and nothing else will be importance whatsoever.

Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” 1948. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. 7th ed. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Boston: Pearson, 2013. 250-256. Print.
Lawrence, D. H. “The Rocking-Horse Winner.” 1933. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. 7th ed. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Boston: Pearson, 2013. 234-245. Print.

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