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The Power In Chanda’s Secret And The Lottery

1306 words - 5 pages

On the surface, Chanda’s Secret, by Allan Stratton, is a mind-altering story about the tough life of a girl who lives in a world of disease and death. However, under the surface, is a story about a power struggle within Chanda’s life. “The Lottery” is a story that appears innocent as the town holds its annual lottery to ensure successful agriculture. However, the book soon takes a deep turn as the reader slowly realizes that the “winner” of the lottery is stoned to death in the end. Chanda’s Secrets and “The Lottery” have similar examples of power because a governmental power starts a huge problem, social power keeps it going, and social power prevents it from being resolved.
To begin with, a governmental power, in both stories, starts a much bigger problem. For example, in Chanda’s Secrets the novel greets the reader with, “I’m alone in the office of Bateman’s Eternal Light Funeral Services.”(Stratton 1). The fact that the book opens up with this quote shows the immediate problem of death in the story. It also shows the problem of AIDs, as we later find out that Sara had died from AIDs. These two governmental powers were the two biggest (surface) issues through the story. A similar experience also happens in “The Lottery”. In “The Lottery”, the governmental power was the actual government and it was shown when the author states, “The original paraphernalia for the lottery has been lost long ago...much tradition was represented by the black box”(Jackson) and also when the author explains, ”…in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two day and had to start on June 2nd. But this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours”(Jackson). This quote shows that every year in every village, the lottery is forced to happen because of an old tradition. The government forces it upon the people to do it by saying that if they don’t, they won’t have a successful harvest. The two governmental powers, death/ disease and the actual government both create a larger problem in the story. The deeper problem is that all the characters now are forced to live in a society where no one can trust anyone. In Chanda’s Secrets having AIDs started rumors and once rumors were started, more and more people judged the person. Eventually this shame became too much for people to deal with and most people couldn’t handle it. In “The Lottery”, they have to live with the fear that one day all of their friends and neighbors will throw the stones that cause their death. Overall, the governmental power leads to a bigger issue, however a different power keeps it going.
Furthermore, even though a governmental power starts the problem, social power is the real fuel to the flame. For example, in Chanda’s Secrets, Mrs. Tafa says, ”You should be ashamed of yourself, talking to that Esther Macholo. Don’t think I know what that tramp’s been up to”(Stratton 148). This quote is significant because it...

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