Zora Neale Hurston's The Lottery

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Thematic similarities between Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat” and Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”
After reading the short stories, “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston, and “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, one would see striking similarities. Although the stories reflect different times and cultures, the theme of irony seem to parallel throughout both work. Both stories, share plots and characters that seem to contradict what one would expect.
Both stories begin by introducing the setting, which includes not only dates, times and locations, but also the season. Both writers wish to convey some sort of feeling. Consider the statement in “The Lottery,” “School was recently over for the summer, and the feeling of liberty sat uneasily on most of them…” …show more content…

The use of strong adjectives such as Delia Jones’ humming a song in a mournful key” (PG), Skyes “…snorted scornfully,” (PG) the “black box grew shabbier”(PG) sets a tone that the reader will use to follow thorough each story.
As both stories reflect upon the simple lives of the character of the era, they both paint a picture of two individuals in an unfavorable scenario that they want to change. In “Sweat,” the antagonist is Sykes, the abusive, cheating husband of Delia, who wishes to run Delia out of her home in order to move his mistress in. In “The Lottery,” the protagonist Mrs. Hutchinson wants to save her husband from being stoned to death in a traditional ritual.
“Sweat” starts by indirectly describing Delia as a hard-working, Christian woman. She washes the clothes of white people and is very successful. Despite 15 years of marriage, Sykes, her husband, refuses to acknowledge that she is the bread-winner, and often abuses her because of that; along with the fact he despises white people, and their clothes are in the house. For the most part, Delia was submissive to Sykes, and put up with his antics, until one day she took hold of an iron skillet in defense of a threat by …show more content…

It describes the lottery in detail, from the history of the black shabby box where the paper, which were once, chips of wood. While the story names several characters, it does not go into any details about them. It simply references their attitudes about the occasion. Many were anxious and ready to go, “Well, Now.” Mr. Summers said soberly, “guess we better get started, get this over with, so’s we can go back to work…” (PG). Others were nervous, “…there were men holding the small folded papers in their large hand. Turning them over and over nervously…”

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