Writing is the common avenue where ideas are passed from one group to the other. More noteworthy is that individuals are able to inherit culture and carry it on to the future generation through writing. The message communicate will be understood by the readers depending on how good the author has illuminated and exposed his or her ideas in writing. A good writing will employ and incorporate the styles of writing. These styles enrich the work drawing tension, interest, suspense and even creative vivid images in the mind. However, the story should not just incorporate these styles to a point of bloating the epic; thus, creating confusion, ambiguity or even complex to crack story. In this connection, this paper will analyze two stories by different people to delineate the differences in themes, message communicated and characteristics of the stories. The stories to be analyzed are“The Story of An Hour” by Kate Chopin, and “The Lottery” (1948) by Shirley Jackson.
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Shirley Jackson displayed the society setting in her story “The Lottery”. The story narrates a traditional practice in a community of America, where members congregated every 27th day of June to participate in a lottery game. Members were expected to pick slips from an old box maintained by an elderly man in the society by the name Mr. Summers. However, unlike other common lottery games where the winner was positively rewarded, the winner in this story was awarded menacing death through stoning. The winner is stoned by the fellow friends and family members to death, despite mourning throughout the stoning period. The practice is said to be on its seventy seventh anniversaries. The members participating in this deadly ceremony are presented as happy, with no problem with the practice at all, children playing, men joking and smiling, women greeting each other and exchanging gossips (1st and 2nd paragraphs).
On the other hand, Chopin story displays a story where a man, Mr. Mallard is said to have succumbed from an accident. His wife, Mrs. Millard, had been suffering from a heart problem for a long time. Therefore, it was imperative to consider the mode of breaking the message about her husband death without exacerbating the heart problem (Cunningham 49). A friend of Mr. Millard, Richard, and Mrs. Millard sister, Josephine, were in a mix of disclosing the unwelcome news. At last, Josephine broke the news in a step by step manner, which engraved Mrs. Millard grieving mood. She closed the door and rationalized the feeling, comforting her heart that she would have the intended freedom in the next years. At the end, the story takes a new turn on discovering that Mr. Millard was alive (Millard). This results to confusion, and mixed feelings overwhelm Mrs. Millard to sudden death.
The two stories end their message with a tragedy, which involves death of one of the characters. In “The Lottery”, Mrs. Hutchinson finally faces the fate of death after being stoned by her community members, while Mrs. Millard succumbs of overwhelming joy that leads to heart attack. Despite the fact that the deaths were different, both from occurrence and expectations, a common fact about the story is that both writers have managed to maintain the flow of ideas without hinting the expectation at the end of the story. In addition, the two stories also present a commonality surprising conclusion of the events. It is with mere surprise that the reader comes in to terms with the resulting deaths in the story. In “The Story of an Hour”, the readers may not be expecting that Mrs. Millard eventually dies after managing her feelings and rationalizing on her husband death. It was expected that death would be from Mr. Millard. On the same vein, Mrs. Hutchinson arrives in the gathering ground late, mingles through the crowd and settles at the front line, wins the lottery and is later stoned to death. This was so unexpected to the readers.
The core themes of the two stories represent powerlessness of the society members to rise from the inhumane treatment of traditions and society norms. Shirley discount reveals how the community members are engraved by the power of the traditions to an extent of killing their companions in the society without pity or feeling of guilt. The individuals gather in a jovial mood and in readiness to answer the traditional call, as if they were going for a celebration (Selina 218). The overseer goes through the list with the aim of ensuring that all members are present. “Mr. Summers consulted his list”, “well guess that is everyone” (3). Despite the fact that they were aware of the repercussion, they all gathered and fulfilled the practice that had been on for seventy seven years without any member contradicting of challenging the tradition. Women are also revealed as less significant than men. In the picking process, men are regarded as highly qualified for undertaking the lead. “Don’t you have a grown boy to do it for you, Janey (Shirley)?”
On the same footing, Mrs. Millard reveals her joy of freedom after her husband has died. The message communicated in this joy is that of oppression of women in the society by men, to a point of feeling captives in slavery land of society norms. The oppression could be a contributing factor to the heart problem that she has suffered for a long time. Women are also displayed as vulnerable in the society: they are not ready to face the real life. “Considerable care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news” (Chopin 1). “Richards’ quick motion to screen him… but Richards was too late” (Selina 217).
The two stories also depict society hypocrisy. The two women succumb out of their intense hypocritical behaviors and ideas on the existing practices. Mrs. Millard was overwhelmed by the mixed feelings on husband reappearance (Cunningham 50). She was happy that she had attained freedom, yet such feelings had been concealed from the outer world, which was made to believe she was comfortable with her husband. Similarly, Mrs. Hutchinson arrives in the lottery ground in a jovial mood, eager to carry on the practice. However, the truth of the weight of the matter dawned on her when she won the lottery. She complained of irregularities and unfairness in picking the slips. The evil effect of practice, which she was prepared to carry on, turned to be unfair pain being realized only by the culprit. Some of the members were presented as anxious during the process of picking the slip, such as Mrs. Graves and Steve Adams, but during the stoning process they were on the forefront. This represents lack of caring among the members in the society, qualifying the saying “Every man for himself, but God for us all.” Despite the fact that individuals were not contented with the tradition, they pretended to be for the practice
A common difference between the two stories is observed in the style of writing and presentation of ideas. Shirley makes the reader anticipate for positive ending, which unwound to the least of the reader’s expectations. Throughout the story, there are no instances depicting or even hinting what is the final discovery of the lottery. On the other hand, Chopin introduced the feeling of tragedy right from the beginning and the readers prepared for the consequences of dark ending of the story, though not in the manner that the story ended.
While “The Lottery” reveals a tradition that cuts across deferent genders, “The Story of an Hour” displays difficulties faced at the family levels. The differences in the two stories can synergize the effect of traditions in the community and how individuals are oppressed by issues, too blind to realize, yet too educated to advances in the other areas of society advancements.
The message being communicated by the two stories seems to rhyme, focusing on the need to overcome the traditional ties and live a free life. In the contemporary world, individuals need to observe traditions that have a negative effect among the individuals. The individuals in the two stories are tied with traditions that are of no good, yet too weak to break the cord. The two authors successfully manage to convince the audience or the reader fraternity to embrace openness, credibility and integrity in their dealings. This is because stoning as a tradition, such as stoning comrades to death, had no reason is practice of the society that should have identified it as warranting (SparkNotes Editors).
Lack of genuine positive relation among individuals also forms a critical message for these two stories. At one point, Mrs. Hutchinson was in a good relationship with the community members, yet turned to be a foe ones she won the lottery (Selina 217). The community seems to be enjoying the stoning process since it remembered it well than rituals that lead to loss of the original box.
In conclusion, the two stories capture the traditions and society as a complex environment that is full of mistreatments, hypocrisy, dishonesty and the ones that value traditions more than the mutual respect. In a relationship, individuals may portray themselves as kind, understanding, possessing togetherness and honesty, only to realize latter the true characteristics during compromising situations. The two stories have, therefore, delineated the theme of hypocrisy, slavery of traditional practices and social norms in the society, and powerlessness. The messages intended by the two authors show the negative effect of hypocrisy and the need to overcome negative traditions.
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