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The Significance Of The Human Spirit In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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Written in 1948, ‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson is a controversial short story heavily influenced by the events that occurred during that time in history. Jackson effectively captures the dark nature of the human spirit in her dystopian piece, ‘The Lottery’; there are significant parallels between the short story and the sociological, economic and political climate at the time due to the Holocaust and the red scare in the United States. During these difficult times in history, individuals were persecuted for their beliefs, and often it was people that they believed were close to them that allowed for these unspeakable acts to occur. The lengths that members of society are able to go to in order to protect their own interests is deplorable, and Jackson has illustrated this theme in a more apparent manner. A time in history that holds significance in ‘The Lottery’ is the red scare. During the late 1930s and 1940s, the citizens and the government of the United States were increasingly paranoid of a communist uprising, and the presence of Soviet spies. This came to be known as the red scare, and this paranoia lead to the destruction of many lives and professional careers. A significant number of people experienced their reputations being tarnished, and individuals were jailed for having, or simply being accused of sharing communist beliefs. Subsequently, many members in society were quick to divert attention from themselves, and in turn offer the names of friends and neighbours to the authorities. This lead to prominent figures in…show more content…
The 1940s were a time during which white supremacy terrorized Europe and this phenomenon, known as the Holocaust took the lives of millions. ‘The Lottery’ is viewed as a horrific and controversial piece of literature, and Jackson purposely includes the element of horror in order to exemplify other similar acts of barbarism occurring in society at the
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