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Essay/Term paper: Traditions in "a moment before the gun went off" and "the lottery"

Essay, term paper, research paper:  American Literature

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Traditions in "A Moment BEfore the Gun Went Off" and "The Lottery"

In the stories "A Moment before The Gun Went Off" and "The Lottery,"
there is the situation in which a group of people cling to traditions very
blindly. In both stories the traditions are so dug into the people's way of life
that questioning them is considered sacrilege within these communities.
Furthermore, the members of the community no longer even remember why the
traditions were set up in the fist place. They follow the traditions simply
because their predecessors followed the traditions. Another similarity between
the communities in both stories is, even though these traditions are firmly
entrenched in these communities, they are rapidly losing there grip in other
communities. This detail is not only mentioned in both stories, but looked down
upon by communities that still follow the traditions.
In the story "The Lottery," the tradition is to hold a lottery on a
specific summer day, but instead of winning a cash prize or some other good
thing, the winner gets to be stoned to death by the members of the community.
The character that is mentioned most in this story is one by the name of Mrs.
Hutchinson. Mrs. Hutchinson is a devoted mother and housewife. She is the one
who eventually gets singled out to win the lottery. So it is Mrs. Hutchinson who
is impacted the most brutally by the lottery. However the other people of the
village are affected differently by the lottery. It is very unlikely that the
people of the village kill people for the sake of killing people. More likely
there is a deeper reason. One possibility is that the people of this village of
this village are looking for a scapegoat. A person to take the blame for
mistakes and sins of others, so one person dies for a community and saves the
community from whatever sins that had been committed.
The society can be affected in many ways by the lottery. Other neighbor
societies have been affected by the lottery, many have abandoned the tradition
of the lottery. Even in the community where the story takes place many of the
rituals that go along with the lottery are fading into the past to be forgotten
forever. An example of this would be the chant that originally went with the
lottery. Depending on how well the villages communicate with one another
determines the fate of the lottery. If the people responsible for abolishing the
lottery in other towns spread their preaching, there is a chance the tradition
of the lottery could be destroyed. Another factor that dictates the future of
the lottery is the population of the village, if the village grows large there
are more people with all kinds of new ideas, a few of which could be to get rid
of the lottery. Eventually the societies that are home to the lottery will deal
with their sins and end the tradition of the lottery.
The story "A Moment before The gun Went Off" is one that takes place in
Africa. In the story the White minority are the ones in charge. In this
particular society, blacks are the blue collard workers while the whites take
the higher positions. The main character of the story is Mr. Van der Vyver. In
the story Mr. Van der Vyver accidentally kills a young farm hand by the name of
Lucas. Mr. Van der Vyver is more than Lucas's employer he is his father, so Mr.
Van der Vyver feels truly sorry for killing Lucas. Mr. Van der Vyver does not
grieve with his wife for the death of their son because he is not married to the
Lucas's mother. The tradition in this story is that interracial marriages do not
occur. While this tradition is not as brutal as the one from "the Lottery" it is
just as sad.
I believe that the society from "A Moment Before The Gun Went Off" will
suffer the same fate as that of the one from "The Lottery." Tradition will give
way to change, blacks will hold high social positions, whites will marry blacks.
One way or another this will be the eventual fate of the community no matter how
hard the whites try to separate the black from the whites.
In both these stories there is a some sort of tradition that grips the
communities very tightly. These traditions may have been vital for the survival
of the communities in the past, however as time passes the need for these
traditions becomes nonexistent. As the communities grow and become closer to
others the process of abandoning the traditions speeds up. this is because there
is more communication between the people of different sex, religion and color.


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