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The Lottery and What a Thought by Shirley Jackson - Research Paper Example

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This study looks into the two short stories on “The Lottery” and “What a Thought” by Shirley Jackson who is regarded as a writer who is morbid. This is because her key goal when she is writing her stories is to shock her readers with the sad truth behind the nature of human beings…
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Download file to see previous pages This research will begin with the biography of Shirley Jackson. She was born in the year 1916 in San Francisco to a middle-class couple; Geraldine and Leslie. During her teenage years, the family moved to New York, where Jackson graduated in the year 1934 from high school. Jackson attended the Rochester University, but later dropped and graduated from another University; Syracuse University. It is at Syracuse University, where she perfected her skills as a writer while she was working for the school’s newspaper group. She also met with Stanley Edgar Hyman while at the University. After graduating, she married Hyman and had four children while residing in their rural home in Vermont. Shirley Jackson wrote various books that were based on children stories, most of which were humorous pieces whereas others were autobiographical. She is remembered mostly for her story on “The Lottery” and “What a thought”, where in the former story she portrays an average village with citizens who practice annual rituals where residents are sacrificed. Both of these stories hold a meaning of the evil that exists in human beings. Jackson was highly inexhaustible especially in the year 1950 and her output was impressive throughout her career. However, she may not as acclaimed critically today like some of the authors who are there today, but she still enjoyed a career that was highly rewarding. Jackson’s health was poor throughout her life because of being a heavy smoker and suffered from weight disorders. Jackson died from heart failure at the age of 49 years.  
Many of Jackson’s works have been adapted in form films and series on televisions. She dealt with the presence of evil in respect to people’s everyday lives. The two stories “The Lottery” and “What a thought” are both chilling stories where in the first story Jackson depicts of how cruel people can be, this is evidenced by what the crowd said “Then the voices began to say, "It is Hutchinson. It is Bill," "Bill Hutchinson's got it” (Jackson 8). In the second story shows the evils depicted in a woman had been married for so many years turning on her husband without the slightest warning. Both of these stories contain events that are strongly bent on portraying what a real society comprises of and how people perceive others. Both of these stories follow Jackson’s usual and known scheme to make her readers shocked by the unfolding events depicted. Most people got appalled by her stories and gave their reviews stating that the stories were shocking, but are a reflection of what a society undoubtedly holds (Shields 20).
Themes and their Importance in the Stories:
The themes in Jackson’s two stories are almost similar and they both take place in a setting that ordinary in the lives of Americans. Both stories demonstrate her apt affinity for suburban horror. This is clearly illustrated in “The Lottery” she begins portraying the town as a joyful place because of the existing lottery (Jackson 5). Mrs. Hutchinson a key character in the story was enthusiastic to identify who won in the lottery. She got shocked when she realized that it was her own family members. What is clear, is that her vision of horror is not only limited to houses that are haunted in locations that seem to be haunted. There is horror that is engraved in the minds of most individuals and like in the story “What a Thought” where this affects the wife and a husband. There is sheer dissatisfaction with the individual lives depicted in both stories. In both cases, this dissatisfaction leads to a fantasies and a reality that seems blurred. Horror and madness seem to come alive in the most unlikely settings as ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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