Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and Flannery O’Connnors “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and Flannery O’Connnors “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” are stories that deal with mans inhumanity to man by illastrating different situation, but lead to the same conclusion and with no thought of the consequences. Jackson and O’Connor use central characters to show how man has the power to distort reality into something the people accept into everyday life. Jackson uses tradition in “The Lottery” when she uses Mr. Summers as the announcer of the lottery every year. Mr. Summers was a person who believed in the lottery and never thought of ending this tradition.

Every year Mr. Summers spoke about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box. When the people were asked to get in like to pick a paper, they had done it so many times, ” they half listened to the directions,” (Jackson 235). For generations the lottery was always performed on the twenty-seventh of June, but the orginal box was lost, the rituals were forgotten, but the villagers did remember to use stones. Tradition in “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” O’Connor goes a different path of traditon but lead to same consequences.

The Misfit like Mr. Summers is messanger of death, but for different reasons. Like the people of “The Lottery” the family in “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” both have a destination and a purpose and that is to meet their maker. The person in “The Lottery” is killed for being unlucky, and in “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” the Misfit was inprisoned for a reason he does not remember. It was in the best way to keep up his reputation as a killer, to go ahead and kill the entire family, and in this way in his mind he is saving them from sinning again.

These stories were of manupalation of the mind. Jackson used two main characters to make the people go along and continue the lottery. The people of the village had been so brainwashed by Mr. Summers and Old Man Warner that they did whatever they said to do. When ” Mr. Summers raised one hand high and said, Adams. A man disengaged himself from the crowd and came forward”(Jackson 235) Old Man Warner was the oldest person in town and always talked about the lottery in that it was a good thing because when the lottery is performed “corn be heavy soon. (Jackson 236).

The people have lack of independent thought when they follow Mr. Summers, and Old Man Warner tells the villagers to finish Mrs. Hutchinson quickly. Without hesatation the crowd picks up stones and start stoning Mrs. Hutchinson with no thought of why or if it’s even right to do this act. When O’Connor had her characters manupalate the rest, the grandmother was loudmouth, know it all, always giving her son Bailey suggestion on how to go about the vaction they planned.

When she suggested to her son to go to the house with the secret panel, she told him that t would be a good educational trip for the children. Bailey was not thinking for himself when he was following his mothers directions to the secret panel house. If it weren’t for the grandmothers cat Pitty Sing they would have never come across the Misfit. When the Misfit did arrive on the scene he was in total control of his men, Bobby Lee and Hiram. The Misfit was in charge of everything that went on from that moment on.

The only time in the story that he was a follower or lacked the indepence to question, was when he was inprisoned for omething he could not remember. The only thing he was told was that he killed his father and that prison had papers on him. The Misfit blames the penatentary for the way he acts and his actions. “The Lottery” is a story that was about self-preservation of ones self. Old Man Warner had lived seventy-seven years and had never been the chosen one, so he was always for the lottery. To him the lottery was not bad because he was never the one to pick the black marker.

Mrs. Hutchinson was the one chosen and was trying to get her married daughters to draw with them. Theres Don and Eva,” Mrs. Hutchinson yelled, “Make them take their chance. “(Jackson 236). She was thinking if they could pick then they would be the ones that picked the black mark. Mr. Hutchinson on the other hand did not speak or even try to take her place in the lottery, “Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. Bill Huthinson held it up, and there was a stir in the crowd. “(Jackson 237).

When the family was chosen everybody in the village were relieved and started to ask which family had been chosen. When Mrs. Dunbar had found out who it was, as though glad it was not her family, “Go tell your father,” Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son. (Jackson 236) Selfishness was used in A Good Man Is Hard To Find in a different way by different characters. When the children told the grandmother, “If you don’t want to go to Florida, why dotcha stay at home? “(O’Connor 568) They were thinking that the grandmother maybe would ruin the trip for the rest of the family.

The grandmother was not the only victim in this story, her son Bailey had to hear er complain about where they were going and she just wanted to go to east Tennessee for herself to meet up with her connection. On the other hand the Misfit used selfishness for the wrong reason and that was for his own benefit in that he thought he was everybodys savior. In his mind he was above everybody and that what he was performing was that person wanted to be saved from future sinning. The grandmother thought if she could not save her family, then she is going to try to save herself.

When she was preaching to the Misfit and told him hat he was one of her children and she reached for him, the Misfit got startled and shot her, because she got too close. Man is far away from a world without violence and these are some of the reasons people keep doing all the things that we read about or hear, or even see on television. Man might, one day, be able to live with each other if we can get over the prejudice and thinking of where were headed if we don’t change our ways. There were many elements that were used in both stories, but the ones writen in this paper were the ones that to me were of more imprtance.

Leave a Comment