The Lottery And The Rocking Horse Winner

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Ironic Symbolism: “The Lottery” and “The Rocking Horse Winner”
Rachel Perisho - #24384910
ENGL 102: Literature and Composition
Fall 2013 – B11

Ironic Symbolism: “The Lottery” and “The Rocking Horse Winner” “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and “The Rocking Horse Winner” by D.H. Lawrence are stories in which the authors rely heavily on irony and symbolism. Both works of fiction involve self centered mothers and conclude with tragic circumstances. Jackson and Lawrence used those elements to illustrate the points of their writings. In “The Lottery”, several things were used in a symbolic way. The most prevalent of these is perhaps the town’s lottery itself. Set within a small village in rural America, the townspeople participated in an annual drawing in which someone would “win” their lottery. It is a common thing to participate in various kinds of yearly traditions for many in the Western world. The very title of story is an allegory for something that most people would consider to be a positive thing to become the victor. However, as the reader discovers towards the end of Jackson’s story, winning the lottery results in death. Lawrence also used one of the main elements of symbolism in the title of his fiction. The rocking horse Paul frantically rode to bring him luck was very symbolic in “The Rocking Horse Winner”. D.H. Lawrence wrote, “He knew the horse could take him to where there was luck, if only he forced it. So he would mount again, and start on his furious ride, hoping at last to get there” (Kennedy & Gioia, 2010). Just as luck is unpredictable and is not guaranteed, such is the plight of Paul on his rocking horse. He moves it back and forth, always seeking to obtain providence and wealth. In both “The Lottery” and “The Rocking Horse Winner”, there is also a strong component of irony. At the end of “The Lottery”, Jackson shows how not all traditions are good, just because they are accepted by everyone. Old Man Warner speaks of how things are just the way they’ve always been when the drawing is taking place. And Tessie Hutchinson shouts, “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!” (Kennedy & Gioia, 2010),