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How are women portrayed in Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery"?

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pixieprincess169 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 15, 2009 at 11:18 PM via web

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How are women portrayed in Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery"?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 16, 2009 at 12:12 AM (Answer #1)

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The women in Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery," are portrayed as simple, second-class citizens, subservient to their husbands and even their sons. The men run the show: All of the lottery officials are men, and they gather first, then the women. The men speak of important things, "planting and rain, tractors and taxes." The women merely gossip. The women are not authoritative, for they have to call their children "four or five times" before they obey. Everyone condescends toward Tessie Hutchinson because she is late--late because her husband rounded up the kids and brought them to the important annual event without bothering to even fetch his wife.

Tessie is presented as a congenial wife but ultimately weak and disloyal mother. When she finds that her family is the chosen one, she attempts to better her own odds by asking that her older daughter be included:

   "There's Don and Eva," Mrs. Hutchinson yelled. "Make them take their chances."
   "Daughters draw with their husbands' families, Tessie," Mr. Summers said gently. "You know that as well as anyone else."
   "It wasn't fair," Tessie said.

Tessie repeats her childlike "it isn't fair" excuse several times before her end. In a final bit of irony, even Tessie's own son, Davy, moves in with his own pebbles to participate in his mother's sacrifice.

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obwhite | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 17, 2009 at 5:07 AM (Answer #2)

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this the short story of Shirley Jackson "The Lotttery" the womens are portrayed as lower than the males. we see that the womens arent really treated good or with respect because they have to power to vote. Most of the things in the town was run by men or by boys that were olded enough. here we see that back then that is how the women were treated with no respect and just for cleaning and cooking, they were more for being a tool than anything else.

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William Delaney | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:26 PM (Answer #3)

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It is perfectly appropriate that the women are portrayed as they are in Shirley Jackson's story. The purpose of the story is to depict these people as backward. The women behave the way women did a century before them. No change is taking place in this society, and nobody seems to want any change. It would be inappropriate for the women to seem better educated, less subservient, less domestic, or different in any respect from their female ancestors. We visualize the women in Jackson's story wearing sunbonnets and homemade dresses with no makeup or jewelry.

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