What Literature Does Assignment: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (Essay Sample)
What Literature Does Assignment
Purpose: To examine a particular work in terms of aesthetic construction.
Length: 3-4 double-spaced pages (excluding the Works Cited page). Times New Roman font, size 12. One inch margins. Completely consistent with MLA style and format.
Introduction: Before examining literature within the larger issues of modern American literature, it may be helpful to understand how they work on an aesthetic level. For this essay you’ll think most critically about how a certain work operates to achieve a particular effect.
Assignment: Please read the following expert from The Art of Fiction by novelist and creative writing teacher John Gardner:
A true work of fiction does all of the following things, and does them elegantly, efficiently: it creates a vivid and continuous dream in a reader’s mind; it is implicitly philosophical; it fulfills or at least deals with all of the expectations it sets up; and it strikes us, in the end, not simply as a thing done but as a shining performance.
Please choose one story that we have (or will) read for this class and write an essay wherein you prove that that particular work adheres to Gardner’s interpretation of what literature should do. Please use only your close reading abilities and do not consult any works outside of your textbook.
You will want to compose an essay wherein you address each of the components of Gardner’s essay and use specific textual examples to support your claim that your story is a “true work of fiction.”
Choose one story:
The Disappeared & Charles Baxter
An Adventure in Paris & Guy De Maupassant
The Chrysanthemums & John Steinbeck
The Fall of the House of Usher & Edgar Allan Poe
I Want to Know Why & Sherwood Anderson
Marine Life & Linda Svendsen
Sonny’s Blue & James Baldwin
Give & James Salter
The Yellow Wallpaper & Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Shiloh & Bobbie Ann Mason
The Lottery & Shirley Jackson
***Book Attached for the citation
What Literature Does Assignment: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
In The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, the villagers observe the ritual tradition of drawing lotteries and the people selected are then stoned.”The lottery was conducted--as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program--by Mr.Summers who had time and energy to devote to civic activities,” (Jackson 1) . To begin with, it appears as though the event is a festival, but the ending highlights the horrors of the barbaric act. The story represents folklore with the characters involved in mundane pursuits that have repercussions for the whole community who are bound by traditions. John Gander states that fictional writers are effective when they create a vivid and continuous dream to the readers, where the author takes a philosophical view to depict a shining performance.
Gardner argues that a fictional story ought to function as a vivid and continuous dream. The author foreshadows the story’s ending as children gather stones, while the authors stand in groups talking in low tones. Jackson’s story supports the fictional dream narrative as identified by Gardner since the actions of the characters are tied to drawing the lottery and using stones to sacrifice on person in the village tenure better crops. The flow of action is continuous as the people involved gather around to know who picks the lottery. Mrs. Hutchison who is stoned by the villagers is an individual standing up against the societal norms, and conflict with the society makes the story memorable.
Even though, Jackson’s story may appear improbable, the writer uses dramatic tension and it is as though the readers are in a vivid and continuous dream the story begins without suspense on a clear and sunny June morning (Jackson 1). However, as the story progresses, Jackson capture the dramatic tension by choosing a setting where people meet and the family representatives have to choose the lottery. There is uncertainty among the people as any of them can be chosen the lottery is used for a more sinister objective and not monetary gains as is common in other lotteries. The story unfolds towards the winter where the children gather quietly indicating that the occasion would not be jovial.
Jackson points out that the people have been reluctant to change their ways as they had lived that way for years. However, this is ...
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