What two characters are juxtaposed in "The Lottery"

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literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The juxtaposition of characters, within Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," is subjective. What this means is that it is up to the individual reader to define characters as juxtaposed (contrasted or set side-by-side, so as to compare or contrast). Subjective refers to the idea that each reader defines a character based upon their own ideas and justifications.

That said, a few examples of characters which can be identified as juxtaposed are as follows.

Tessie and Mrs. Delacroix

Tessie is late to the lottery. Mrs. Delacroix, on the other hand, is on time. While it may seem in-coincidental at the time, Tessie is the one who "wins" the lottery. One could consider her lateness as foreshadowing.

Tessie and Bill

Bill openly accepts the fate of his family and wife. Unlike Bill, Tessie argues her family's "win" and her "win." Bill readily accepts the lottery as concrete; whereas, Tessie argues that it was not fair.

Tessie and Little Dave

Here, Tessie represents the matriarch of the family, the older woman. Little Dave, on the other hand, represents the youth and future of the Hutchinson family.

Mr. Adams and Tessie

When examining the text from a religious perspective, Mr. Adams represents the biblical Adam and Tessie represents Eve. This juxtaposition speaks to the earliest sin. The villagers, regardless of the tradition, commit murder (which is a sin).

 

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kmj23's profile pic

kmj23 | (Level 2) Educator

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In "The Lottery," there is a juxtaposition between the characters of Old Man Warner and Mr. Adams. This is shown clearly when Mr. Adams mentions that a village in the north is considering giving up its lottery. In contrast, Old Man Warner calls these people a "pack of crazy fools."   

This juxtaposition of attitudes demonstrates a wider contrast between modernity and tradition. By expressing this new idea about giving up the lottery, Mr. Adams represents the arrival of modernity and the abandonment of tradition, while Old Man Warner is tradition's most ardent defender.

This juxtaposition does not last the entire story, however. At the end, Mr. Adams can be seen at the front of the queue to stone Tessie Hutchinson. Symbolically, this demonstrates that tradition will always survive if there are enough people to stand behind it.

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