The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Category: Culture
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Shirley Jackson’s, “The Lottery” depicted the cruelty of old principles and how they have effects on its citizens, especially on its women. In the story, the men are the one who choose a slip of paper that determined the horrific faith of one of their fellow townspeople. The women in the town have no right to choose a slip until her family has chosen theirs first. The lower down on the list that a citizen is increase their chance of picking the slip that will determine who is stoned to death. In “The Lottery, “The community views the women much weaker than the men. By this tradition, women are placed last simply because of their gender. In this story, women are less valued and less respected. This is evident when Mr. Summers asks Mrs. Dunbar who will be drawing for her husband due to his absence in the lottery. She replies “Me, I guess.” Mr. Summers answers with shocked, “wife draws for husband, don’t you have a grown boy to do it for you (Shirley 5).” Another example from the story highlighting gender bias is when the Watson boy offers to draw for himself and his mother, he is doing so because it is socially acceptable for a son to draw for his mother even though his mother is undoubtedly older and more experienced than he is. Viewpoints of unfair gender bias such as in this story are very similar to real world views, even now in regard to women and their unfair treatment. Fair treatments and rights are still unequally balanced in between women and men. It is true that over time the roles of gender and equality have evolved, giving women more rights and the ability to do or be whatever whomever they desire to be, however women still fighting for a small percentage of the rights that men by birth have.

Women have fought over the ages to gain the same equal treatment as men concerning work, rates of pay, political rights, household responsibilities and recreation. In today’s age, many countries and governments in the world have promoted equality for women, some areas do not. In certain countries women are not expected or even allowed to do men’s labor or be educated. Gender roles and responsibilities vary from country to country. In different cultures, women still are expected to maintain the stereotype of being a good housewife and a stay at home mother that cooks, cleans and takes care of the children while the father out of the house all day. Afghanistan is considered one of the most restricted countries for women’s rights. Many of the women are married off at young ages and are expected to bear children to gain respect for their families. Society expects women to stay at home and not interact much with the community around mainly for safety from violence. “Women and children are incorporated into the idea of property and belong to a male” in certain tribes (Riphenburg 2003:188). Although in some areas in the country some women are put in seclusion, some rise up to opportunities in the political aspects. In Riphenburg article, women’s rights in Afghanistan are hardly considered, “recognized or supported” (195). Even though some women have become school teachers, and work in hospitals, are lawyers and doctors many of the girls in Afghanistan have been limited to education by the age level of maturity and readiness for marriage. Once a girl reaches the age of 12 in some families, they discontinue her from any secondary level of education, unless they see it as a legitimate benefit for her family. Literacy rate in Afghanistan have girls, women are far lower percentage than men.

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Discrimination against women is not a local issue in a certain part of the world anymore. Most of the times women are thought to be less powerful and less intelligent than males because of their body shape. Because of this they end up facing discrimination, violence and sexual abuse resulted from gender inequality. Women are not only discriminated in the third world but are also being discriminated in the developed countries such as United States, England and Germany. The United States, one of the most powerful and developed countries that plays a major part in handling the world issues, has a discrimination problem against women which it hasn’t been able to solve even decades after getting independence. According to the United Nations Development Fund for Women, data shows that discriminatory practices against women exists and dominates in almost all parts of the world. “Segregation in workplace is still pretty prevalent in most countries. Certainly, it is still in the United States” (Marie 2016).
America has come a long way with the rights of women. In the history women fought a lot for their rights, then finally got their rights. Today, women have rights to work as men, and women can work in any position, army and any place. Women have risen up higher and in Americas 2016 election almost had its first female president. Although Hillary lost, she empowered women, gave them the motivation to be whoever they want, even attempt to be president if that is their hearts desire. In America from 2013, “31.7 million (29. %) women aged 25 years and older had completed high school but had not attended college” (Brown 2016:11). Since the 1940’s the country’s college graduation status has increased drastically, while in the 40’s the percentage of women college graduates was only 3.8%. 94.9% of American women graduated from high school which was also a drastic change from 1940 which was at a low 26.3% (Brown 11). Women also moved lots of nontraditional fields like farm etc. A few years ago, that was not the case, pay rate was decreased for a working woman than of a man.

Women in America as well have increased in size with military personal, 16,080 in the army, 9,489 in the Navy, 1,455 Marine corps, 12,373 in the Air Force, and totally in the department of defense 1,313,363 (Brown 62). Women entrepreneurs have increased to approximately to 9.4 billion privately owned businesses (Brown 63). Women today do currently have equal pay rate as men when working in the same job area and field, “[t]he earnings ratio hovered near 60% from 1960 through the early 1980s, when it began to climb rapidly. The ratio grew from 60% in 1980 to 71.6% in 1990, but then over the following two decades growth in women’s earning relative to men was slower” (Brown 66). Women now even though President trump is trying to repeal the women’s equal pay, still continue to fight and pull through and find ways to stay equal and fair as men. Other Countries promote gender equality so highly that women are placed as leaders equal to men in larger parts of the world.

Women have come a long way from the beginning of the fight for equal gender rights. some countries promote gender equality so highly that women are placed as leaders equal to men in larger parts of the world. However, women in different areas of the world, although different cultures still limit some, still know what they can be capable of doing once they put their minds to it. Women’s status around the world vary by country to country and may continue to do so, other countries may never have the same exact rights as America. The world is changing however, and the fight for equal roles and rights continue to go on. In America women are trying to hold on to their equal pay. In other countries, women look for freedom, education, individualism. But women stand strong everywhere and adapt to survival. Roles for women vary, women can accomplish anything she sets her mind to do. Modern day allows anyone and everyone to be educated and make something out of their lives. Although society may never know what is to happen in the future of women roles and status, in great hope their status around the world improves even more than today. With persistence the ladies have found ways to get what they truly want. Each role depends solely on the individual, what they perceive themselves to be. In today’s day society encourages each individual to be whoever or whatever they want to be. That is something that may change, and it may not. What has continued to happen through history is that women have risen above and have successfully succeeded in life, poverty and the pursuit of happiness, just as much as the hardworking men.

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The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. (2021, Apr 27). Retrieved from