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Ironic Joy in “The Lottery”

By Avery King, III Form

Ironic Joy in “The Lottery”

Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” uses juxtaposition to show the town’s darkness through the beautiful summer day, the contrast of character’s names, and the difference in behavior between the adults and the children. “The Lottery” begins with a description of the beautiful summer day, which makes the reader assume that a joyful event will take place. The setting of summer implies a sense of hope and happiness because the day “[w]as clear and sunny with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green” (Jackson 1). Often, the setting reflects the content of a story, but this is not true here. The characters’ names also show a contrast between darkness and light, for the name Mr. Summers is almost always closely followed by the name Mr. Graves to remind the reader that not everything is as light and good as it may seem. When Mr. Summers makes his first entrance with the black box, Mr. Graves comes in closely behind: “The postmaster, Mr. Graves, follow[s] him, carrying a three-legged stool, and the stool is placed in the center of the square, and Mr. Summers set[s] the black box down on it” (Jackson 1). Jackson deliberately chooses the last names of the characters to reflect the irony of the event. While the summer is supposed to be jovial, something grave and dark can ruin it. This “dark event” is precisely what happens to the town every summer when the Lottery occurs. Concurrently, before the town convenes for the Lottery, the children are happily running and playing because it is summertime and they are innocent. As the adults filter into the scene wearing somber expressions, the mood changes, and one begins to wonder why they are so sad while the children are happily collecting stones. In fact, “Bobby Martin ha[s] already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon [follow] his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones” (Jackson 1). While initially, the stone collection appears to be a fun game, the stones ultimately are used as weapons against Mrs. Hutchinson.  Jackson contrasts innocence with harm and evil, even when initially it seems harmless. Jackson’s purpose is to show that everything has a balance in contrast. Through the description of the beautiful summer day, the contrast in the characters’ names, and the children’s game, Jackson shows that this Lottery is a corrupt event, for even the happiest of moments can contain darkness. Contrast allows Jackson to convey that the Lottery is not something to be celebrated. 


《Indigènes》–– Le Miroir de La Réalité

By Selina Wu, IV Form

《Indigènes》–– Le Miroir de La Réalité

Editor’s Note: The assignment for this essay–Write a 2-4 page analytical essay that discusses themes from the chosen content (Selina chose this film). Present themes and analysis using support from the chosen content and end by opening up a new question, which Selina does by asking: “As global citizens, how can we understand ongoing conflicts of race and religion.”

indigenes-2006-aff-01-gLe film 《Indigènes》raconte une histoire des soldats algériens pendant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale. Malgré le fait que les soldats viennent d’Algérie, ils vont à la guerre pour la
France à cause de la colonisation française. Le film montre la séparation des femmes et des hommes, les conflits entre les religions différentes, et l’inégalité des races.

Un des thèmes les plus importants est les rôles différents des hommes et des femmes pendant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale. Dans le film, les hommes et les femmes n’ont pas beaucoup d’interactions. Quand les hommes sont partis pour les combats, les femmes sont “devenues « chefs de famille » par la force des choses, pour pallier l’absence de l’homme” (Kristjánsdóttir 16). Dans le film, les soldats sont demandés de protéger un village français. Il y a seulement des femmes et des enfants dans le village parce que les hommes sont tous dans la guerre. Les rôles des femmes ont beaucoup changé après la Seconde Guerre Mondiale. La distinction entre les occupations des hommes et des femmes est clairement présentée dans le film. (more…)

Optimism About the Power of the Book

By John Warren, Head of School

Optimism About the Power of the Book

Immediately after learning of our impending grandparenthood, our conversations with daughter-in-law and son, Caitlin and Ethan, turned to books—their recollections of favorite childhood books that had been read to them and that they had read to themselves, and our recollections of favorite books that we had read to Ethan and to our daughter, Amanda. From Ethan and Amanda’s infancy right up through much of elementary school, my wife and I had a nightly ritual of reading to them, and memories of those times are among our happiest. We have been pleased to learn that these memories are among Ethan and Amanda’s happiest, too. (more…)

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Reflections on Miller’s The Crucible

By Carrick Zhu, V Form

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Reflections on Miller’s The Crucible

A lack of decency and empathy has caused many unnecessary deaths and trauma throughout history. As Joseph Welch once asked Senator McCarthy during the “Red Scare” hearings, “Have you left no decency?” [1] The Salem Witch Trials depicted by Arthur Miller in The Crucible took place more than three hundred years ago, yet Miller’s message has not lost its relevance in modern society. The hysteria surrounding the story still has the potential to reoccur in America. Arthur Miller portrays the evil side of humanity through the trials by depicting the selfishness, impressionability, and the atrocities committed because of fear. These characteristics portrayed in The Crucible remain poignant today because of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the Red Scare of the 1920’s, and the Third Reich regiment. (more…)