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The Ruse of Losing

In: English and Literature

Submitted By KayAker
Words 808
Pages 4
The Losing Ruse
The short stories “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson and “The Rocking Horse – Winner,” by D.H. Lawrence have a dark side; by attempting to control the outcome in their lives the character’s ungodly behavior demonstrates winning is losing.
“The Lottery,” by Jackson, transports the reader in time to a bright sunny early summer day; a sense of warmth and a tightly knit community. This warm summer day with rich green grass with blossoming trees is a setting of joy, playful children and happy townspeople who gather to participate in the town’s lottery. Had Jackson included a dark cloudy and rainy day, the change in setting may foreshadow losing the lottery and even pointing to death. A change of setting such as a downpour, may create a less sociable crowd. The changing mood creates anticipation and foreshadows “winning” the prize. The warm day, the social interactions, the playful children stuffing stones in their pockets and the anticipation of the event begins to reveal the unexpected result. The late arrival of Mrs. Hutchinson certainly she will not be unlucky enough to win but lucky enough to lose.
The reader feels the ominous shift in tone. The lottery box arrives with an eerie and suspenseful mood with dark undertones. The box takes center stage and the townspeople give wide berth to the black box. Jackson’s rich use of symbolism points one direction – winning- all the while taking the story to a climax in an opposite direction – losing. The lottery itself represents those things done mindlessly, doing for the sake of doing, or because we have always done things this way. The stones reveal that no one is sinless and in this lottery everyone’s hands are dirty even the children. The box is black, dark and eerie; marred by years of use. The townspeople keep their distance from it to prevent their own marring. Jackson forces the…...

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