Shirley Jackson Accentuates Collective Mentality: The Effects And Results Within Society

832 words - 3 pages

1BeciJoris BeciEnglish 10 Rm 323Ms. ReedOctober 7, 2013Shirley Jackson Accentuates Collective Mentality: The Effects and Results within SocietyIn Shirley Jackson's stories, she highlights the unison, brutal characteristics of a dystopian community. A community containing a particular characteristic in common, consisting of their children representing a blank slate, ready to learn ways of the adults or authorities, that is presented with a dark side of nature lurking behind a collective mentality society. Behind this behavior mentality, the community loses its self-awareness. Thus, resulting in feelings of fear, isolation, hypocrisy, and violence.Shirley Jackson composes a unified community to display the loss of individuality, and provokes the characters in her short stories to develop inner selfishness and hypocrisy. Because the characters act in unison through their actions, they experience a loss of self-awareness by following the herd and developing into narcissistic people. In "The Lottery" when Mrs. Delacroix, a personal friend of Tessie, who "stood next to her, as they both laughed softly,"(3) participates in her stoning. Mrs. Delacroix is a fine example of demonstrating the loss of self-awareness and a participant of a herd mentality. She conforms to the actions given by the community, and acts in unison with the them telling her to, "be a good sport."(5). Thus, capable to transition from a personal friend she's chatting with to assisting her community's belief in killing her. Mrs. Hutchinson undergoes character development from a women who, "remembered it was the twenty-seventh and came a-running," to protesting "it isn't fair, it isn't right"(8) due to their unjust traditions. It's at that moment of selfishness and injustice, influenced by a collective mentality, where the characters are driven to act brutal and violent towards each other.Jackson displays an outcome of a conformed society, required to comply to set of standards, boundaries, and regulations because she wants to show the characteristics of a dystopian society. Therefore, the characters respond violently to any outcast. In a conformed society, behaviors that step over a certain boundary or line are frowned upon with given consequences. In "The Renegade," Lady initially exemplifies the outcast, "Naturally you understand that we can't have a dog killing our chickens?"(73) And the consequences for having a dog-killing chicken was to, "take care of the dog."(73). In that context of 'taking care" of the dog, implied suggestions like "tie her up,"(76) "shoot him," "tie a dead chicken around his neck,"(79) or as "she gets...

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