The Role of Women in the 'Lottery'

The Lottery is a story written by Shirley Jackson describing a practice done by people living in a small town which was unlike the “typical/ normal” lotteries where people compete to win, this involved demonstration of gender responsibilities and their separations. In the story, gender was described and defined by the individual sexuality to identify a person with consideration of culture or societal values. The role of women as described and defined by gender was exempted during participatory in the lottery events. There was no discrimination of roles during lottery between boys and girls, all were treatment equally. During the stoning, all the community members were involved on equal capacities regardless of gender as demonstrated in the story when Jackson records that Mrs. Delacroix took a heavy stone that was so big forcing her to pick it using both hands. All the separation that was based on gender was abolished when the lottery was practiced (Shirley 195).

Although Lottery was a great equalizer of gender, disparities and differences based on gender was however evident in other responsibilities and fields. Evidence stated in the story to support this separation of duties based on gender is the responsibilities assigned to Mr. Summers and Mr. Gravers as the lottery administrators as opposed to women simply because they are men. Therefore women were considered incapable to administer lottery not because there were inability to do so but because of their gender. This demonstrated that men are the only ones who can hold the highest positions in the society and not women. The story regards women’s responsibility and duty of childbearing as a disadvantage with aspirations to be chosen as lottery leaders, administrators and occupants of other important and highest positions. The notion of large families been segregated from producing leaders was purposely imposed to target women since they are the ones who produce children. The society encouraged women to bear more children multiplying their responsibilities as housewife and also the society was divided on gender lines demonstrated by the social status of both genders. The society has categorized the roles of women only limited to staying at home taking care of their children while men worked at the fields (Shirley 197).

As Jackson observes in the story that women were standing beside their husbands with faded sweaters and dresses portraying their lack of power and low-nesses in the society. This is evident when Bill Hutchinson demonstrates his authority as a man when he forced a paper slip from the hands of his wife’s forcefully which was to establish who among the family members would be the casualty during lottery. Any family representation was done by a man and rarely was women given the opportunity. Women were also considered not to have a verdict of their own and were supposed to accompany their husbands to the lottery and accept any decision taken even if it involved their families. The drift that existed was also propagated by the societal expectations on young girls and boys were boys were considered to deliver more than girls hence propagating men’s superiority. Lottery is also regarded as degrading the dignity of women who are treated like possessions and subordinate while patriarchal roles are praised and regarded as the only recognized responsibilities in that society. This is evident when Tessie critics and questions the means and methods used to draw victims in the lottery, her husband commands her to shut up. This demonstrates the low position and lack of any contributive responsibility of women in society. Finally the whole story regards and portrays women and their roles only limited to domestic chores and nothing else (Shirley 200).

However, the society has evolved and changed with perspective in regard to the role of women in modern times. Women are now considered to be equal partners just as men to an extent that their work has been magnificent as compared to men. The roles that were considered as patriarchy traditionally has changed and women are efficiently executing these responsibilities. For instance, traditional a woman would not have been thought to be a government leader and that of a whole country. This has happened both in Germany, Philippines and Liberia. Their presidency has been regarded as the best and service delivery have been superb. Therefore, segregation for consideration of gender does not have a meaning any more. Women can do better what a man can do well. Therefore women have assumed the move to have equality (Shirley 196).

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