The Lottery and The Rocking Horse Winner
Name of the Student: Victoria Curry
ID# – L29313367
Every day, decisions permeate people’s lives whether big or small. It is only natural that individuals should consider whether the decision they are making is right or if they could have done better. People always run the risk of the wrong decision which can have significant outcomes. Paul is a young boy in the story the rocking horse winner by D.H Lawrence, who after careful analysis of his mother’s need for money, makes a decision that would otherwise cost the rest of his life. In the same way, Tessie in the story of the lottery by Shirley Jackson chooses to engage in a community gambling game that has a different outcome. Even though the accounts differ in some way, they both use characterization to depict how personal decisions can have specific consequences not only to self but also to those around you.
In the Lottery by Shirley Jackson, the villagers in the small New England assemble on a lovely summer day for their traditional yearly lottery. Each family is supposed to draw a mark around the black box, and the winner will be stoned to death (Jackson, 208). Tessie Hutchinson, who seems to be uninterested in the event, shows up and finds out that her family has already drawn the dreaded mark and complains that the process was unfair. The second lottery takes place, and she picks the black dot, and the villagers begin stoning her to death. On the other hand, the Rocking Horse Winner tells a story of a little boy named Paul, who thinks that he is lucky after realizing that he can predict the winners of racehorses after winning several of the races and gifting his mum with the money (Lawrence, 2007). After winning the Derby race, he is overwhelmed and dies.
In both stories, the characters sacrificed their lives for the sake of the others. In the Lottery, the village holds a traditional yearly lottery where they use one member as a sacrificial lamb for the preservation of the people in the village. Tessie Hutchinson, after participating in the gambling game, chooses the black dot and is stoned to death by the villagers including her family. She is the sacrificial lamb for the village. Similarly, Paul in the rocking horse winner feels that his family is always in need of money and does not love him, and so, he chooses to bet on horse racing, which initially brings him money (Lawrence, 2007). But in the hope of helping his family, the process costs his life, but his family is left to enjoy the money.
Also, both essays depict that the characters did not expect the outcomes of the events. They expected something different from what happened. In the rocking horse winner, Paul participated in the horse race game hoping to win and bring his family money and that his mother would love him if he were lucky. When his mother tells him that he is not fortunate, Paul resolves to prove her wrong, even when he was in his deathbed, he still wanted his mother to believe him saying,’ mother, did I ever tell you I am lucky'(Lawrence, 2007). His wish was for his mother to believe that he was lucky and to love him, but he died in the process of making all his expectations happen.
In the same way, Tessa Hutchinson comes late to join the lottery claiming that she had forgotten about the event and she seems to be excited to have made it on time. She goes on to chat with the neighbors while at the same time encouraging her husband to draw the cards for the winner. When his husband pulls the black dot out of the box, she shouts at Mr. Summer, ‘I saw you, you did not give him enough time to take the paper he wanted’ (Jackson, 2008). Tessie seems to be fine with the lottery until it dawned on her that she was the winner of the game. With her protests, “it wasn’t fair”, “it wasn’t fair,” (Jackson, 2008), the villagers one by one picked up stones to hit her.
In the rocking horse winner, the main character Paul is a young boy who seems to be thoughtful and considerate of others. Even though he is just a kid, his concerns for his family are genuine, and he especially wants to help his family with money problems. When his uncle asks him what he needs money for he says that he wants it for his mother and that she should not know about it (Lawrence, 2007). Conversely, in the lottery, Tessie is ruthless and inconsiderate to others. She is excited about the lottery knowing that someone is going to die until the process plays a game on her. Tessie asks Mr. Summer to include her daughter solely in the game, ‘make them take their chance, there is Don and Eva,’ knowing she is under her father’s name (Jackson, 2008). Having the idea of including her daughter in the lottery makes her a ruthless person and inconsiderate that someone is going to die.
In summary, the stories of the lottery and the rocking horse winner depict how personal decisions can have significant outcomes not only to self but to others. While Paul in the rocking horse winner shows compassion for others by helping his family, Tessie Hutchinson in the lottery is inconsiderate and selfish until the game plays a trick on her and she becomes the victim.
Jackson, S. (2008). The lottery. Mankato, MN: Creative Education.
Lawrence, D. H. (2007). The rocking-horse winner. New York: Associated Educational Services Corporation