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The Lottery And Harrison Bergeron Essay

1381 words - 6 pages

The Lottery and Harrison Bergeron
People with power in society often have the ability to influence the practice of certain traditions. These traditions can affect what a citizen is entitled to do. In today's day and age, life without basic freedoms and rights sounds unthinkable. However, in Shirley Jackson's “The Lottery” and Kurt Vonnegut's “Harrison Bergeron” this is the reality. Old Man Warner and the Handicapper General show that people in positions of authority encourage outdated traditions that ultimately lead to innocent people getting hurt.
Old Man Warner, an important person in society, advocates villagers continue to participate in the dated tradition of the lottery. The ...view middle of the document...

Old Man Warner is then is reassuring others in society that it is the right thing to proceed with the act of the lottery when it is time. He believes that without the lottery the village will encounter hardships and society will not be able to prosper.
If the individual receives the card with the black dot, death becomes the outcome regardless of their innocence. In this instance, Tessie Hutchinson became the victim because of Old Man Warner's actions. This is because Old Man Warner is clearly making the attempt to recognize the importance of the lottery and ensuring the village does not neglect this tradition. Had he not done this, the village could have been considering giving it up as well.
Similarly, the people in the village were gathering stones while,
Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. 'It isn't fair,' she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, 'Come on, come on, everyone.' [...]. 'It isn't fair, it isn't right,' Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her (Jackson 6).
This is significant because it shows how after Tessie Hutchinson received the paper with the black dot. She became the victim of the lottery, when she was actually innocent. Her mother disagrees with the lottery as well. She acknowledges that it is unjust and unprogressive, as Tessie is innocent. Therefore, displaying how the tradition is without a doubt is outdated. When Old Man Warner speaks, he is giving reassurance to the citizens to continue to carry out the act regardless and not to follow contrary belief. When Old Man Warner says this more people join in on the stoning. This is important because it shows how his encouragement lead to Tessie's death. Overall, it is clear that the village looks up to Old Man Warner and they listen to what he has to say. He has authority and a say in society. Often times he emphasizes the importance of the lottery and the need for it to persist. Morever Old Man Warner is also aware that the outcome is an innocent life being taken away but disregards this and continues to encourage the lottery.
The Handicapper General, a woman with a high status in society encourages practices like wearing handicaps that lead to innocent people getting hurt. Harrison Begeron escaped from jail and storms into the centre of the studio. He removes his handicaps, and they crash to the floor. He selects a dancer to be his Empress, and then removes her handicaps as well and the two of them begin to dance, “It was then that Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, came into the studio with a double-barreled ten-gauge shotgun. She fired twice, and the Emperor and the Empress were dead before they hit the floor” (Vonnegut 4). It is unmistakeable that the Handicapper General is portrayed as a person who has a clear, distinct title. It is shown that she is an authority figure and harbours a strong opinion in...

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