The Lottery: The Diversion of Guilt and Accountability
Individuals point fingers at times, to avoid fault and culpability. A scapegoat is the one that endures the guilt and blameworthiness for others. It may also be used to define a person that is the object of absurd aggression. On the other hand, the process of scapegoating is the custom of behaving towards a person or a party differently due to unjustified disapproving conduct or guilt. This is depicted in the two stories: The Ones who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula Le Quin (208-212) and The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (213-218).
Both works portray a scapegoat that is singled out from the community and held accountable for liability. The works equally started with a setting that seemed so ideal that every description gave the impression that the city of Omelas and the small town who held the annual lottery were flawless and perfect in every way. Le Quin (208-212) and Jackson (213-218) masked the settings of the story with gaiety, festivities, amusement and joviality that concealed the atrocious and horrifying events that will soon commence. Both stories exhibited perfection, despite not having a sovereign body to rule over them and put things in order as manifested by the use of no monarchy or slavery, no secret police as mentioned by Le Quin (209) and not a mention of any governing body like a church or a courthouse by Jackson (213-218), through their festivals which covered up the lurking evil from within.
The illustration of scapegoats in both stories described someone that would be held accountable to suffer alone for the decency that the members of the community are enjoying. Le Quin (208-212) described a frail child as the scapegoat in the story. The child’s misery is the one accountable for all the prosperity and abundance of the city. The Omelasians as they were termed by Le Quin believed that this defective and weak child must suffer misery for everyone to experience wealth and happiness; not even a kind word must be uttered to the child or else the city will be ripped off with his profusion by the gods (208-212). On the other hand, the townsfolk’s selfish desire for a scapegoat was obscured by a bloody ritual as depicted by Jackson (213-218) through the use of the so-called black box which, in the turn of events, can be labeled as the death box. Unlike the usual lottery that people know where winners are rewarded by prizes that would cause bliss to the winner, the lottery portrayed by Jackson, in this case, is someone that every individual would try to avoid as much as possible for it would bring forth distress and death on the part of the winner as evidenced by the scene in the story when the black box was carried by Mr. Summers and placed it in a stool, the villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between them and the stool (214).
Being the scapegoat in the story by Le Quin provided the scapegoat with no choice, that unfortunate one would have to endure all the wretchedness of the world to save the city from desolation. His melancholy as the people from Omelas supposed would be for the common good of everyone residing in the city and those who can no longer bear this maltreatment walked away from the city (208-212). On the other hand, Jackson showed that the individual here somewhat had the slim chance to avoid being the scapegoat if that person was triumphant not to pick the black-dotted ballot. Jackson highlighted, however, that beneath all of the blunders of evolution and sophistication, people remain seeking out for scapegoats and thus, their intrinsic cruelty stands out though. This narrative account criticizes upon the egocentric propensity of humans to get hold of a scapegoat and to bestow upon the scapegoat the vindictiveness that the majority of individuals appear to have dammed up within them. This is obviously depicted by several of the characters in The Lottery (Jackson 213-218). Mrs. Delacroix vibrantly welcomes her friend Mrs. Hutchinson and then within the hour eagerly persuades Mrs. Dunbar to draw closer and pelt Mrs. Hutchinson to death. Mrs. Hutchinson, upon realizing that her husband had the black dotted ballot, began reprimanding anywhere she could. The ballot was not performed justly—her husband was hastened to pick. Everybody else, however, raved that it was impartial because it was in his or her egotism to assert that it was.
Finally, it should be a lesson for everyone to avert looking for scapegoats for the ill-fated events that they are experiencing. It is iniquitous to point fingers when in fact, every individual is held responsible for himself; for the reason that while a person is pointing a finger towards someone, the other fingers are aiming towards the person himself.
Jackson, S. “The Lottery”. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing. Pearson Longman: 2007. 213-218.
Le Quin, U.K. “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing. Pearson Longman: 2007. 208-212.