The Rocking-Horse Winner and The Lottery by Lawrence and Jackson – Book Report/Review Example

The paper “The Rocking-Horse Winner and The Lottery by Lawrence and Jackson" is a dramatic example of a book review on literature. A lottery is considered as one of the fastest ways of becoming wealthy. People who win the lottery are considered ‘lucky’ as they get the money without working hard for it or without working for it. However, with the chance of winning a huge amount of money luckily, the lottery also brings a danger of making people lose their sanity by getting obsessed with winning more of it. The desire of winning keeps on increasing no matter how much money they win. Hence, a lottery is one such ‘lucky’ chance which brings with it an underlying evil spell that people fail to see and fall victim to its deathly effects. 

The Theme
Authors D.H. Lawrence and Shirley Jackson have explored the nature of the lottery in an excellent way in their short stories ‘The Rocking-Horse Winner’ and ‘The Lottery’ respectively. The theme of their stories is the lottery. However, the prize that is won by the characters in the stories differs. Their stories introduce the readers to two different faces of the lottery and how it affects human beings negatively.

The Mystery Called Luck
In the story ‘The Rocking-Horse Winner’, D.H.Lawrence has described the human tendency to believe in a thing called ‘luck’ without knowing what it really is. He has shown how human beings lose peace of mind in an attempt to have ‘luck’. Through a character called Paul, he has explained that people have a tendency to take desire ‘luck’ without understanding what it is.

In the story, a child called Paul finds people talking about his father not being ‘lucky’ and this makes him think about ‘luck’ constantly. Finally, when he asks his mother what ‘luck’ is, she is not able to give a satisfactory explanation. The surprising thing is, Paul’s mother blames her husband for being unlucky and tells Paul that she has become unlucky after marrying him. Through the dialogue between Paul and his mother regarding luck, the author has put across the message that when people are not able to understand a particular situation, they try to explain that situation through luck.
 
The atmosphere of sadness and depression lurks in their house and Paul becomes obsessed with the idea of becoming lucky. His obsession makes him bet on horses. However, he does not win all the bets. Paul is shown saying to his uncle that he wins only when he is ‘sure’ and loses when he is not sure. But the question that comes to the reader’s mind is that if Paul says that he wins the bet only when he is ‘sure’, then why does he put his money on the horses when he is not ‘sure’? Through this contradiction between what Paul says and what he does, the author has given a message that ‘luck’ is nothing but an expression for unexplained gain. People are not lucky or unlucky. If Paul was ‘lucky’, then he would have won all the bets. But it is not so as he loses some. Hence, it is by chance that he wins the race and not by ‘luck’. When Paul finds out that his belief that he is lucky is a wrong belief, he goes mad in an attempt to get the ‘sure’ answer. He becomes sick with depression and loses his life. The reality that it was by chance that he used to win the races and not by ‘luck’ shocks him so much that he dies with that shock.

The Animal Side Of Human Nature
Through her story ‘The Lottery’, Shirley Jackson has shown that behind the human face of people, there is an evil face of cruelty and hate. People find some reason or other to bring out their animal side and to justify their action of killing other people. In her story, Jackson has used the theme of a lottery to show how people can commit a heinous act of killing an innocent person in the name of ‘tradition’ and ‘religion’.

The story unfolds in such a way that the reader initially thinks that the lottery that is being drawn by the villagers is to win some interesting prize. But in the end, the reader is shocked to see that the lottery is actually drawn to select a person who will be stoned to death as a means of ‘sacrifice’ to please the God and keep the village away from evil things. However, under the façade of following an age-old tradition, people forget that evil is not outside them but it lies inside them. It is the evil inside them which makes them carry the tradition of killing an innocent person every year without even thinking about the ‘unfairness’ and the ‘irrationality’ of the tradition. The villagers are shown discussing that the neighboring villages have stopped this tradition. However, the idea of stopping the tradition is considered as the foolishness of young people. Through this story, Shirley Jackson has shown how people are resistant to new ideas with the fear of making their God angry by giving up their tradition, no matter how cruel they are.

Conclusion
No matter how the lottery is used, it always brings the evil aspect of human nature to the surface. The evil of lottery is the irrational beliefs that human beings harbor in their mind. While in D.H.Lawrence’s story Paul bets on the horses to become a ‘lucky’ person, in Jackson’s story the lottery is drawn to select the ‘unlucky’ person. Hence, the stories show that no matter why one draws a lottery, it ultimately ends in a tragedy. According to the authors, the irrational beliefs and hidden evil inside human beings make them believe in the system of a lottery. A lottery is nothing but an evil spell which works its charms on people by showing them the dreams of a luxurious and good life.