Compare and contrast the thematic symbolism in "The Lottery" and A Farewell to Arms.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is going to be a bit tough in pulling connections because the fundamental force for the protagonist in both settings is different.  Hemingway's Frederic is shown to be a heroic figure, one who represents "grace under pressure" in the idea that he represents a sense of rugged and dogged individualism in embracing his own fate.  Tessie Hutchinson is the victim of circumstances, one who tries to avert what awaits her but cannot escape the fact that the entire village is "upon her" in the end.  I do think that one point of convergence is that both stories reflect the idea that there is a certain disillusionment with traditional vestiges of the establishment and of tradition.  Frederic displays this with his attitude towards the war, one that is not glorifying it or embracing it.  Rather, he suffers from "war disgust," and that what defined tradition in terms of the embrace and glory of war is something that is not present.  Tessie displays this towards the tradition of the lottery, itself.  A study of Tessie's predicament shows that Old Man Warner is simply wrong in how he praises the lottery as a type of tradition that defines reality and sets things right in the world.  There is nothing of the sort in the ending of the story, where the villagers descend upon Tessie, stoning her to death.  In both stories' thematic development, what has passed for tradition and "the establishment" is seen with repulsion and a sense of disgust.

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The Lottery

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