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Conformity In The Lottery, The Ones Who Walked Away From Omelas And The Namesake

1146 words - 5 pages

To stand firm in ones beliefs is a difficult task. It takes a strong-minded person with boldness to stand for what he or she believes in. The possible consequence for doing so is isolation, humiliation or the success of changing ones view. Given that standing up for oneself makes the person vulnerable, out of fear, many suppress their ideas and settle for the beliefs of others. In The Lottery, The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas and The Namesake, the characters struggled with the decision to conform to society or go against social norms to defend their morals.

In The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson, the people of the village are consumed by a tradition. Every year in the month of June, they conduct a lottery to determine who will be stoned. The unjustified killing of a human being is widely viewed as an iniquitous act. Although surrounding communities have ceased the tradition of the lottery, this society continues the tradition. The idea of not practicing the tradition has been brought up numerous times within the community but “the subject was allowed to fade off ” (351). The community was conscience of the tradition being unethical but because it was a part of their heritage and believed to determine the success of their harvest, no one would do anything about the lottery. Once she is picked from the lottery, Tessie Hutchinson notices that the people are not conducting the lottery fairly and decides to stand up against the tradition. It can be inferred that women were not considered equal to the males of the village. Tessie—a woman— had the courage to stand against the tradition. Tessie understood that not all traditions are good. A tradition can be so engraved into an individual that they forget its purpose. In the story, it is stated that, “much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded” (351). Traditions are hard to get rid of because they are passed from generation to generation. Once an individual has been molded by society, it is very hard to change their behavior. Despite being in a society that undermines women, Tessie speaks against the lottery and as a result is stoned to death.

In the story, The Ones That Walked Away From Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin, the happiness of a city was depended on the suffering of one child. Le Guin writes, “they all know it [the child] is there…some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness…depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery” (360). With this in mind, some people would accept the way of the city and some would leave. The people that walked away from the city had sympathy for the child and also understood that possibly freeing the child from captivity would cost the city and its people to lose its beauty and happiness. Yes, releasing the child would allow him or her to gain temporarily relief, but is it worth it? Once the child is freed, poverty, heartache, disease, crime and other negative agents would begin to engulf the city. Being...

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