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“The Lottery,” written by Shirley Jackson and “The Rocking Horse Winner,” written by D.H. Lawrence both use the stories settings in contradicting ways in order to present the seriousness of the stories. Jackson used the setting as a way to sidetrack the readers while Lawrence used the setting to construct the story. Setting is an important piece in any story and is extremely true in the two short stories that are about to be shared.
In “The Lottery”, the setting is used by Jackson in an effort to distract that reader.
By distracting the reader by using beautiful memory visuals, the author is able to formulate an ironic ending to the story. The setting is illustrated to be warm, bright, happy and peaceful. Some readers may suggest that the scene is pleasant and in a certain way, suspenseful. The author described the day to be “clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day.” (Jackson p.250) Jackson used the specific description in hopes to create a harmonious, calm and amiable scene for the readers.
This calming mental picture of the atmosphere made the readers believe that the story will have a happy ending. The characters also played a role in throwing off the horrific ending. Throughout the story, the character all remained calm and happy. As the readers continue to read the story, they soon realize the truth about what is truly about to happen. This deceives the idea of a perfect ending. The portrayal of the buildings, town and the lottery box all added to the setting that throws readers off track of the gruesome reality of what is going to happen.
In “The Rocking Horse Winner”, written by Lawrence, the setting is the center of the short story. Lawrence also used real life places throughout the world and London to help create the setting in short story. The author also used real life events and hobbies to help the reader really feel involved in the story and not feel the need to try very hard to mentally visualize the setting. Lawrence outlines the characters struggles to constantly be competing with the neighbors. The in-depth description that Lawrence uses of the house and gardens paint a picture of the conflicts of income and actual lifestyle. The mood and environment fit well with this story setting. There is not a lot needed from the author to paint the scenery. Since a lot of readers have personal experiences with horses, the readers are able to read and understand without much thought. As soon as a reader can relate to an event, the little details are not needed to pull the reader into the story.
There is one similarity and a few differences in these two short stories. The one and only similarity of these two short stories is that in both of these short stories, the settings are reasonable, realistic and convincing. The settings in both stories are either real locations or places that have a huge possibility of existing. In difference, Jackson used the setting to distract the audience from the gruesome, shocking and horrific ritual of stoning that was about to take place. The readers were all swayed from this reality until the end of the story. Contradicting, Lawrence incorporated the setting into the story and used vivid descriptions to allow the readers to add their own memories. Lawrence created the setting in an effort to draw the readers in as the story unfolded.
In conclusion, although both stories had a similarity, they both used the setting in different ways. Shirley used the setting to distract the readers while Lawrence used the setting as the main focal point in the story. Both stories surely provided the readers with firsthand examples on how important the setting can be in a story and how it can have a huge impact on the readers perception. “The Lottery,” written by Shirley Jackson and “The Rocking Horse Winner,” written by D.H. Lawrence both use the stories settings in contradicting ways in order to present the seriousness of the stories. Jackson used the setting as a way to sidetrack the readers while Lawrence used the setting to construct the story.
→ Kennedy, X. J, and Gioia, Dana,eds.. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing, Compact Interactive Edition. 7th ed. New Jersey: Upper Saddle River, 2013 →Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery”. 250-256.
→Lawrence, D.H. “The Rocking-Horse Winner”. 234-244
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