The lottery


The popular opinion in society is always the opinion of the majority of society. Due to this simple fact, minorities often are ignored when they attempt to voice their opinions and are sometimes scrutinized for it. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird many such examples exist, as well as in The Grapes of Wrath and the short story The Lottery. All three of these works, in different methods show to some extent that the voices of minorities are often just whispers among a roaring society.
Marginal members of society are particularly mocked and maimed. Tom Robinson for example, from To Kill a Mockingbird, a black man accused of raping a white woman is convicted even though circumstantial evidence is all but presented. His lawyer, Atticus Finch describes the case in this quote, "In our courts when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins. They're ugly, but those are the facts of life." There is a sense of support for the African-Americans present in the novel too. Mr. Dolphus Raymond states his opinions of discrimination to Dill perfectly, "You aren't thin-hided, it just makes you sick, doesn't it?" Atticus also tells his children some very good advice for the future, "As you grow older you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it-whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash."
Women, as well as children, although they are not a minority, they are treated the same way. In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery they schedule a public stoning every year for June 27, and decide who to stone through a process of drawing slips of paper for families and then for individuals of that family. Women and children are no exception to the rule. They draw too. When Tessie Hutchinson begins to object to the manner of the drawing, she is cut off in this quote, "Suddenly, Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers, 'You didn't give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn't fair!' 'Be a good sport, Tessie,' Mrs. Delacroix called, and Mrs. Graves said, 'All of us took the same chance.' 'Shut up, Tessie,' Bill Hutchinson said." Tessie Hutchinson is told to shut up by her own husband! Mrs. Hutchinson detests the lottery and does so until her death, as shown in this quote, 'It isn't fair, it isn't right,' Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her." This is a direct disregard to hear her opinions and her ideas. Children are also shown this discrimination in Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. After saying "Hey" to her aging neighbor, Scout is chastised by Mrs. Dubose rather sharply. Mrs. Dubose replies to Scout, "Don't you say hey to me, you ugly girl! You say good afternoon, Mrs. Dubose!" This only reinforces the fact that young people are discriminated against as much as minorities.
In Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, this same disrespect is shown to the "Okies", as they are called. The Joads upon arrival at their destination in southern California, they find that their paradise is due south of heaven. Locals call them dirty and stupid, and reject them. Even local bums reject them as in this quote, "No, looka here. I'll come for ya tonight. Maybe I'm wrong. There's stools aroun' all a time. I'm takin' a chancet, an' I got a kid, too. But I'll come for ya. An' if ya see a cop, why, you're a goddamn Okie, see?" The Joads are left out and scrutinized, not for being a minority, but because they are foreigners in their own country.
The three works, all in different genres of literature, all show a similar message within them. Minorities are rarely accepted and heard out. Even for the slightest reason, these people are rejected, and scrutinized. Yet they manage to survive, because they are the people and they go on.