Which character in "The Lottery" represents an attitude of liberalism?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is an interesting question.  If liberalism is defined by the advocacy of parliamentary logistics and formalized structures that guarantee equality of opportunity, Mr. Summers would have to be one of my choices for representing an attitude of liberalism.  He is set in his formalistic ways of making sure that the lottery was "fair."  He follows the procedures that are required as someone who runs the lottery.  He says that "everyone has the same chance" and stresses the idea of equality of opportunity in drawing names.  This is a liberal idea in a couple of ways.  The first is that it embraces equality of opportunity, ensuring that this is provided through a sense of the democratic.  At the same time, it is driven by a sense of fairness, as Mr. Summers stresses that everyone follows the same rules and that one person is not unduly weighted over or at the cost of another.  The stress on logistics is something that Classical Liberalism follows.  If liberalism is defined as a more emotive and inclusive philosophy, then I think that Tessie, who is the only one who brings questioning regarding the entire practice of the lottery, would embody liberal attitudes.  Tessie is the lone voice who argues, "It isnt' fair" and "It isn't right."  Tessie embodies liberalism in her opposition to the lottery because she is demanding that the traditional order be questioned, and in her case, rejected on the grounds of unfairness and injustice.  This is liberal by the more modern view of the philosophy because it seeks to include voices of dissent against the established order and seeks to give voice and articulate that which is previously silent.


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