Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fishbowl #5: Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"

Big improvement in supporting and contextualizing your thinking with textual evidence.  Well done!  Continue to work on consistency with this skill, not just saying what you think, but why you think that, using the story to inform your "because..."

Good job politely challenging one another's thinking and exploring many perspectives about a single question rather than question-answer, question-answer.

Happy posting!

76 comments:

  1. I agree with the statement in the verbal discussion about the fact that we can all be affected/afflicted by things. No one is immune to the traditions, ailments, or traits of society.

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  2. Why do you think this tradition exists? How does that reason relate to gothic text?

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    1. I could see a connection to the hunger games- how no one knows why or how it started and it exists but no one enjoys it

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    2. I believe that tradition exists because humans find peace in constants in life. It is something that we can look to for comfort knowing that is the same and will rarely change. Change is something that not everyone likes. And in some cases including me, people love some of the traditions that people have set. It can relate to Gothic text because in the case of "The Lottery", tradition is what this story is about. Tradition is what has set up this story to be written.

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  3. Why do you think the author intentionally called this piece "The Lottery" even though the winner of The Lottery ends up loosing?

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    1. I think it's more about the fact that the lottery is run by chances. Everyone's name is put in a box, and each household has the same chance of being chosen. We think of the lottery today as something positive, but in this story it's more about the fact that it's based on chance rather than it's a positive thing for the 'loser'.

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    2. I feel like the title is supposed to misguide the reader, like oh this will be a nice story, when in reality it's not.

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    3. I think that this is an example of The Uncanny. The reason being, it takes a concept which many people are familiar with and comfortable with, and which is generally associated with good (money) and it makes it evil and related to death which unnerves the audience.

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    4. I think that it has a ironic quality. Also the title has a darker aspect, just in the fact that when anyone thinks of the lottery its positively.

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    5. After the reader reads the title the reader is gonna think it's a story about a person who wins the lottery. The author uses this story to make the reader believe the story is going to be about one thing but have the climax reveal it is about something completely different.

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    6. In our society, we view lottery as winning money, but winning a lottery doesn't always imply that winning is a good thing. According to Dictionary.Com, the definition of lottery is "any happening or process that is or appears to be determined by chance". This never says that the lottery means good or bad. It could go either way. Good or bad.

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  4. What do you think is the significance of the quote, "Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones"? I think that it could possibly be a commentary on the violent/evil nature of people, because the villagers remember the violent aspects of their tradition despite forgetting the "boring" or irrelevant aspects of the ceremony. Or do you think it could be elaborating on what happens when we allow ourselves to ignore and forget traditions and customs which fabricate our society?

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    1. I think this quote shows how throughout generations- the meaning of the situation has been lost and only the "material" items of it remains. Sort of like christmas. I think it shows what kind of people live in the village. I think this aspect of the story brings out the gothic part of it.

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    2. I think that is relates to the villagers remembering the violent aspects of the tradition because in this case the violent part is the most important part of the tradition.

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    3. I agree with your thinking on the quote. I think this quote is significant because it emphasizes the necessity for society to cling on to traditions, that it is common rituals and the value of connection that keeps the people going. The "original black box" being lost could show society giving up materialistic needs. Although the people forgot why they are celebrating or the reasoning behind the lottery, it was still practiced and that was all that mattered to them.

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  5. Just a general comment, but this story reminded me of the "Hunger Games" because the government or system was trying to portray this event as a reward to the people but the reward was death. Why do you think this idea is so highlighted in our society? Does the fact that these similar ideas were shown in Gothic times and modern times show that we haven't grown much as humans?

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    1. I think that idea of death isn't necessarily what is highlighted in our society but violence in general. Yes violence is an overlapping fact in gothic and modern times, but it's also present in all times. Violence has and always will be apparent in society, but that doesn't mean that the human race hasn't grown.

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    2. I don't think that the Hunger Games has anything to do with the Gothic times and whether we have evolved as humans or not. I feel that in the Gothic times, they were writing about this type of thing because it may have been a reality, or a more realistic story than it is now. Today, we find the Hunger Games as pure entertainment and don't see any sort of reality in it because our generation has never seen or heard of anything like this in our time, and we find the topic interesting.

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  6. In this story the towns people are reluctant to change and argue that the past times are better. This was also brought up in A Good Man is Hard to Find. Is this just a coincidence or do you think its relevant through out all of Southern Gothic?

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    1. I think that it is very important to people from the south to have traditions to fall back to, and this is represented in the southern Gothic stories.

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    2. Well, I think that not only Southern Gothic, but Romantic novels as a whole are characterized by an awareness of change within oneself and within society. I think the Southern Gothics use this sense of awareness to illustrate the fact that society is gradually straying from the "moral" ideals of the past, even though these ideals may not have been so great after all (like the sample lead out for "A Good Man..." said)

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    3. I haven't read enough southern gothic to accurately answer this question but my prediction is it it will because mostly everything was consistent through the dark gothic so I believe the same thing will happen related to the reluctancy of change.

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  7. "The rest of the year, the box was put away, sometimes in one place, sometimes another...." (page 2)

    Why do you guys think the box was placed in different places every year? What was the point of this?

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    1. I don't think it really means anything significant other than going along with how they forgot many of the original traditions and how they allowed the box to get destroyed. Putting the box in different places is just not really caring about it or have a specific place for it.

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    2. I think that it was just the tradition to move the box each year. They might not even know why they move the box. Its part of the tradition that they have forgotten over time.

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    3. Perhaps the point of pointing the box in different places was to keep it from altering the outcome of the lottery. As proven by the ending, the winner does not necessarily gain from winning, so by placing the box in many different places the amount of cheating could be lowered. I like that you used this quote to also show that the author could be telling us about the craving for violence that permeates within our society.

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    4. I thought that it was hid in different places so that none of the townspeople could find it. They could take out the paper with the black spot on it, which would ruin the entire lottery. I feel like it's more about keeping the tradition pure by keeping people from changing it.

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    5. Going off of how some of you mentioned that they moved the box to prevent people from cheating, there is still one person who knows where the box is each year. How did the townspeople know to trust the person that was moving the box around each year?

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  8. What do you notice about the morality of this piece? It is possible in The Lottery for a child to win(or lose). Is morality a core feature for the Gothic texts? In A Good Man is Hard to Find, children were murdered as well.

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    1. We talked about how morality was a common part of Southern Gothics. This short story definitely shows that aspect, because there are people stoning other people, every single year. It's often explored in these southern gothic texts.

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  9. Why do the villagers believe the lottery makes society better? When people are talking in the crowd about ending the lottery, Old Man Warner scolds them, arguing "Lottery in June, Corn be heavy soon" Could this be symbolic of society's propensity to allow our corrupt and evil nature to dominate us and allow us to lose sight of our morality for personal gain and benefit?

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    1. That would make sense. This story and "A Good Man is Hard to Find" both seem to show that good people allow evil nature to overcome them. I also think that this story could also be about blaming other people, and that Mrs. Hutchinson was a scapegoat. The Misfit killed the grandmother and her family not really because they did anything, but more for revenge, or to have something to do after all the wrongs he had done/had been done to him. So Mrs. Hutchinson was killed not because she wasn't liked (it appeared that everyone knew her well) but that the people just needed someone to stone to benefit the rest of them.

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  10. I connected this text to the movie, The Purge. The movie is about a 12 hour period where people are free to do whatever they want (including murder). The purpose of "the purge" is to let everyone get their anger out during this 12 hour period so that they would be able to contain themselves and follow laws the rest of the time. I think this town has this lottery as a time where they can do one thing wrong against a person to get out all of their anger, and will obey the law the rest of the time.

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    1. Sorry, that was supposed to be a response to TaylorV's first comment

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    2. @Rebecca- YES! I also thought it was somewhat similar to the purge. Maybe a mix of that and the hunger games because of the random draw factor.

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    3. I totally agree! I was thinking the same thing, that this one cruel action allow's the villager's to be peaceful for the rest of the year.

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    4. I connected this movie to The Purge as well. It seemed that there was an underlying tension between the women in the story and between family members. The lottery serves as a means of releasing their anger, frustration and tension on one another, although the purpose of such an event does not appear to have any clear benefits for society, unlike The Purge (only 1 person is killed).

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    5. I didn't connect this while I was reading but I totally agree. Looking back I see a lot of similarities between the two.

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  11. Do you think that is was unfair that the draw was in alphabetical order? Would there be a more fair way to go about the lottery?

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    1. This didn't seem unfair to me even though it was in alphabetical order because the papers were folded and randomly put in the box making it so nobody knows what they are going to draw.

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    2. I think that the whole system is unfair in many ways. Drawing in alphabetical order is just one of many. Also I don't think that there could be any way to be completely fair about this lottery.

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    3. It wasn't unfair to have the draw in alphabetical order. They didn't know where each and every name was. Just that some name was going to be drawn and someone was going to be stoned. But at the same time, it really wan't fair to have a drawing to stone somebody in the first place.

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    4. I don't believe they care about fairness. I believe they just care about tradition. This is how this lottery has always worked and how it will remain.

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    6. I don't think it was unfair to have the draw in alphabetical order. There needs to be some sort of organization to the drawing so that it doesn't become even more unfair. One thing the townspeople could do, is go backwards through the alphabet the next year, and keep trading off to make it slightly more fair for the people on each end of the alphabet.

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    7. It's fair. It doesn't matter which order they go in, no matter what every person has the same chance of drawing the black spot. Adams, for all we know, very well could have drawn the black spot. Being alphabetical, statistically, does not change any person to be more likely to get the spot.

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  12. Do you think there is any correlation between this tradition and the Salem Witch Trials? I think there could be because people who appear friends on the outside (although this friendship is something of a facade) are suddenly more than willing to turn on their friends and even family to protect themselves and possibly to exercise personal vendettas.

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    1. I believe that there is for we as humans are naturally selfish creatures. In almost any situation a person will do anything to survive, they only realize what they have done after the fact.

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  13. On the last page of the text it states the reaction to the children, "Both beamed and laughed, turning around to the crowd and holding their slips of paper above their heads." I found it a little sickening to hear the reaction of the children, that they were taught to value cruelty. Why do you think the author focused or used children in this short story? What do they show?

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    1. I think the author mainly focused on the reactions of the children because that is the uncanny- children are supposed to be pleasant and caring. This showed that the lottery is so extreme, it has taught children to thrive on violence and killing

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    2. I think the author uses the children to emphasize the morality in the situation. Children are viewed with an innocence, so using children in the story really lets the reader see the horror in the situation.

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    3. I see what your saying but I saw this quote as the children relieved to not be the "chosen" person. But what I was wondering is that if the children knew that they weren't picked than that meant that either their father or mother was the "chosen" one, and they didn't seem at all scared or upset that one of their parents was going to die soon.

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    4. I don't think that reason they were beaming was because they were taught to value cruelty, I think they were happy because they weren't the ones that were being stoned. Anyone in there position I think would be relieved they didn't get picked and in the spur of the moment rejoice instead of mourn for who did get the black dot.

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    5. The author chose to focus on the children to show how sick and cruel this whole "Lottery" is. We naturally, as humans, look at little children as innocent beings. But when we see them laughing, it shows how sick the whole ordeal is. This is a tradition in the village and among other towns, in which everyone partakes in, regardless of age. The children don't know that it is wrong, they just know that it is something that they annually do and that it is right.

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    6. I also noticed this with the quote, "The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles". Most people I know associate children with innocence. The use of children shows that even with the most innocent of people (little kids) are affected and swept up into this town tradition.

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  14. Did anyone have any thoughts while reading as what the "winner" of the lottery got? Before they said it?

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    1. At first I thought the lottery was for money and that the story would be a commentary on greed, but as I began to notice how anxious the townspeople appeared, I wondered if the lottery really was for money.

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    2. At the beginning I thought the lottery was for food rations or money like Ben said.

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    3. At first I thought that the winner got some power or money if they won. But as I noticed the towns people's reactions I began to wonder what kind winner there really is. For the person who draws the "winning" paper, end up dying, and the towns people have to take part in killing the "winner".

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    4. When Mr. Summers said the quote, "Guess we better get started, get this over with", was the first time I started to associate the lottery with a bad reward. After that quote, I started to notice more and more discussions where the reward or outcome of the lottery was referred to negatively, and I started to think it might not be a good thing to win this drawing

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    5. Yes I did, because at first I thought the lottery was a good thing for the people since they seemed so excited about it, but as the lottery progressed, I realized that people were becoming more and more nervous and anxious. They seemed uneasy, and I couldn't figure out why.

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    6. At the beginning of the book I think everyone would agree with me that we thought they were winning money. Throughout the story tension grew and I became kind of confused why everyone was so nervous. I really didn't know exactly what was going to happen until it actually did.

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  15. I found it interesting that the lottery in our time is something that people turn to for hope and a distraction from their personal life. With that in mind, what did the lottery offer for the people in this town?

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    1. The people in this town view it the same way. It is a time for them to get their mind of their personal life and enjoy it, unless, the individual was the one name drawn to be stoned.

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    2. The lottery, in a way, is a type of entertainment. The children ran around in the beginning gathering stones, and everybody talked about the lottery in the beginning. So it is like the lottery as we think of it, as long as you weren't the one being stoned.

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    3. In the movie the purge where every crime is legal for 24 hours the government said it was a release. I feel the same way about this event.

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  16. Do you think that there is significance behind the fact that the town in which the story takes place is so small? I believe that there are only like 300 people, and in the story, they all know each other and appear to be friends. Does this serve to illustrate that friendship is not as sound as it appears, because people are inherently evil? Or could it potentially illustrate the fact that people who you believe you know or who you may even know very well hide aspects of their personality that you never truly see? Or could it be that we are all united in our need for violence and engaging in evil pursuits?

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    1. I think it has a gothic point in it- to show that everyone, no matter how friendly, will one day turn on you

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    2. I believe that the friendship among people exists, its just that when it comes down to it, everyone takes part in the event and it is instinct to follow the crowd. Humans aren't inherently evil, people just like to follow the majority and do what others do. Some view it as a way to survive. It also kind of goes along with the idea that people unite when a scapegoat is found.

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  17. Focusing on what the inner circle is saying... what do you think of the author's use of women being inferior have to add to the story?

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    1. I think that it shows how we were in the early 1900s. When women were at home doing all the house work, and have no real say in anything that went on out side of the house.

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    2. I think it was part of the Southern Gothic, so it could have been the view of the time period. I also saw this as kind of a stereotypical view of the people. The people live in a small town so automatically readers think that the people in the town are all friends and have the relationship where they know "everything about everyone." The fact that the women were inferior to the men could also show readers that this was the way people were viewed in this time. People will always be on top.

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    3. I agree with Kim. I think that the women's inferiority shows the time period that this story is set in.

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  18. Why is it significant that Mrs. Hutchinson, at the beginning, was all cheery about the lottery, talking and joking with Mrs. Delacroix that she had nearly forgotten it, but then at the end, Mrs. Hutchinson insists over and over that the lottery isn't fair and that it isn't right?

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  19. Why do you think that Mr. Hutchinson and his children show such little resistance to their wife/mother being slain before their eyes? Is this evidence that we are selfish and will promote any action which furthers our well being or safety?

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  20. When reading this story, I noticed how the author frequently used names and specific details of the town and its inhabitants. For example, "Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, held the black box securely on the stool until Mr. Summers had stirred". What is the purpose of the specifics? Why would the author do this, in contrast to the majority of the other short stories we have read?

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