Literature Studies of “The Destructor” and “The Lottery” Essay
This paper examines various aspects related to the stories “The Lottery” and “The Destructors” and attempts to examine the similarities and the differences inherent in either story.
Thesis Statement: The lack of detail concerning the reason why Trevor wanted to destroy the house of Mr. Misery or why Tessie was stoned was an intentional facet to let the readers develop their own theories regarding the origin of the actions that were done.
When examining both essays, it is immediately apparent that one common theme between the two is the utter senselessness in the actions committed by the character in the stories. For instance, in the story “The Destructors” a group of boys apparently thought it was fine to destroy home on the basis that it would be fun and that it would increase the reputation of the gang.
Such an act does not make a shred of sense; even if it was done for “the fun of it”. The same can be said about the ending of the story “The Lottery” wherein it is implied that the people of the village stone to the death the character of Tessie Hutchinson because she received a piece of paper with a black spot on it.
When examining the reasoning behind either action, the background behind the stories is severely lacking when it comes to creating any sufficient basis. It is the assumption of this paper that in both stories, the lack of detail concerning the reason why Trevor wanted to destroy the house of Mr. Misery or why Tessie was stoned was an intentional facet to let the readers develop their own theories regarding the origin of the actions that were done.
Clarifying the Assumptions of the Paper
It can be seen in both essays that it is up to the reader to imagine why the characters in the story acted the way they did. As a result, this what makes both stories rather enjoyable to read since it makes readers think about the reason behind the actions behind the characters in the story after they have finished reading it (Feldmann, 1982).
It is the “gap” in the stories, so to speak, that sparks the interest of the reader since, unlike a mystery novel that slowly reveals the basis behind the mystery, the series of actions that lead up to the illogical events in either story is not revealed (Evans, 1997). This helps to instill a great deal of curiosity in the reader as they reread events in order to determine why either illogical act in the stories occurred.
How Readers would Interpret the Story
Barring the presence of any relevant information, it is normally the case that a person reading the story would attempt some form of fanciful conjecture in order to fill in the blanks and rectify what they believe is a needed detail. For instance, maybe the reason why the people stoned Tessie Hutchinson to death was that the village used to be overpopulated in the past and this was one way of controlling the population.
It was implied within the story that other villages in the nearby areas had already stopped the practice, which could imply that appropriate methods of population control had already been set (Evans, 1997).
On the other end of the spectrum, maybe the reason why Trevor had wanted to tear down the home of Old Man Misery was that he learned some sort of secret from him.
Mr. Misery could have been a spy from Germany or had willingly sided with the invading forces since it was implied in the story that it occurred in the years after World War 2.
Another possible meaning behind the actions of Trevor could be related to the fact that he had been sexually abused by Mr. Misery and that he was merely far too ashamed to admit it. It is this and other possible factors that help to enhance the story since it presents the question “what if” to the readers.
The difference in Moral Tone
The main difference between the two stories is the implied moral tone that pervades the development of events.
In the case of “The Lottery”, it is not implied until the very end that something truly horrendous was going to happen, however, when it came to “The Destructors” very early on in the story it was already showcased how the various characters would go about and perform a distinctly immoral deed (i.e. tear a man’s house down without permission) (Gorecki, 1985).
While both stories are great examples of the senselessness behind certain actions, the moral implications behind the actions are brought up differently.
For instance, in the case of “The Lottery” most of the townsfolk do not seem to bring up the moral ambiguity of stoning someone to death for no apparent reason. When it came to “The Destructors”, various characters seem to question the morality of destroying the house of Mr. Misery yet do so anyway.
Based on what has been presented, it can be seen that the lack of detail concerning the reason why Trevor wanted to destroy the house of Mr. Misery or why Tessie was stoned was an intentional facet to let the readers develop their theories regarding the origin of the actions that were done.
However, it should be noted that the stories attempting to showcase this particular type of behavior do so in different ways which make them similar in how they make a reader think about the back story of the events yet are different in the way in which they choose to bring about such a method of introspection (Evans, 1997).
Evans, R. C. (1997). The lottery. Short Fiction: A Critical Companion, 112-119
Feldmann, H. (1982). The idea of history in Graham Greene’s ‘the destructors’. Studies In Short Fiction, 19(3), 241.
Gorecki, J. J. (1985). Graham Greene’s ‘The Destructors’ and Paradise Lost. Papers On Language & Literature, 21(3), 336.
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