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A Conflict Between Male Authority And Female Resistance.

793 words - 3 pages

The Religious Beliefs of Others"The Lottery"In Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," there is a conflict between male authority and female resistance. "The Lottery" attempts to explain an obscured way of controlling female sexuality. In this short story the women are not allowed to take part in the drawing. This is significant because their exclusion from the lottery leaves their fate to be decided by the males in the society. The society in this story is patriarchal. I believe one theme in this story is that people forget the importance of life until they loose their own.Jackson's insights and observations about man and society are disturbing, and in the case of "The Lottery," they are shocking. The lottery enforces an unfair distinction in class status between men and women. Women are subordinate in the social power structure of the village, as shown when Mrs. Hutchinson's family is chosen in the first round. Objecting that her daughter and son-in-law did not " take their chance," (269) Mr. Summers reminds her that "daughters draw with their husbands' families," (269) showing that power is exclusively held in the hands of males in the family. Women, as housewives, must submit to their husbands' power over them because as men in the work force, they are linked to the community economically and provide for the family. Mrs. Hutchinson, however, rebels against this male domination. Arriving late, she raises suspicions of resistance to everything the lottery represents. When her family name is called, she pushes her husband, "Get up there, Bill!" (268). In doing so, she acts rebelliously, ironically contradicting custom by reversing the accepted power relation between husbands and wives. In her name Hutchinson, Jackson alludes to the religious reformer Anne Hutchinson, who, because she was a woman preacher, was considered a threat to society and strict Puritan laws. She was banished from her society as Tessie is stoned and eliminated. In this way, Jackson shows that rebellion of a place in society is repressed.In addition to the reinforcement of a firm division between the genders, the institution of the lottery maintains the structure of society by motivating work. A fear is instilled that lack of productivity will cause one to be selected in the next lottery and banished from the common group. The village reveals this fear in their questions after the first round: "Who is it? Who's got it?...

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