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Comparative Study Of

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Two great works known for irony, in one a great author, Albert Camus, creates a masterpiece and in the other, a masterpiece creates a great author, Shirley Jackson. Camus had been known to the world and his works had been studied even without the presence of "l'hote" or known as The Guest, but Shirley Jackson was a nobody till she wrote The Lottery and stunned the world.

Both works are studied as pieces of irony but I believe both to be great works in other, with a twist of irony in the conclusion, although, worth mentioning, the ironies both serve to the other purpose rather than the plane simple sake of irony.

The Guest, a pen and paper advert for Paul Sartre's Existentialism, carries traces of this thought throughout, while, The Lottery, being a symbolic society questioner, with its many symbols undermines the American society. But both short stories carry within them even more, they talk of breaking the norms, they speak of minorities, giving up, and waste of life.

The Existentialists say man is free to choose yet the choice and having to choose is inevitable and this is seen in The Guest where the Arab is forced into Daru's life so thrusting upon him the crossroad of what to do with the Arab, either turn him in or let him go. In Existentialist belief due to the exact same choice man is always anxious and hesitant, not knowing whether his choice is proper or not, is it accepted by others or not, and this is seen so clearly again by the simple repetition of the word "hesitation" and its other forms in the story:

1. "The orders? I'm not..." Daru hesitated... {A choice forced upon him}

2. He served Balducci more tea, hesitated, the... {Hesitation before the person forcing the situation upon him}

3. The old gendarme hesitated. "It's up to you... {Hesitation while expressing choice}

4. The Arab hesitated, then bit into... {Hesitation before even life's inevitables such as eating}

5. In the classroom, before going out, he hesitated a second... {Hesitation before making a choice}

6. Looked hesitantly at the motionless Arab... {Hesitation before the source of choice}

7. Daru hesitated. The sun rather high... {Hesitant look at life}

In the end Daru tries to get out of choosing by putting responsibility of the choice on the Arab but this in itself is again choosing.

Existentialist beliefs express the dilemma in life and again is shown by Daru not being able to decide what to do with the Arab, whether to go against his country, and let the Arab free to choose, or go against his morals, and turn him in, and all life comes to the crossroad dilemma between freedom and prison for the Arab.

Existentialists strongly believe man is responsible for his choices and at the end of The Guest we see Daru is threatened by the Arabs for the decision he made, even though the Arab himself chose to go to prison.

The loneliness of man, believed by Existentialists, is through out the story in Daru's feelings and especially in the end, "Daru looked at the sky, the plateau and, beyond it, the invisible lands stretching out to the sea. In this vast country which he had loved, he was alone"

By Existentialist belief life is absurd, in The Guest there are materials of explosive action- a revolver, a murderer, a state of undeclared war, an incipient uprising, a revenge note- but nothing happens which only serves to show life actually is absurd.

There's no question Camus was an Existentialist, and I believe Daru is a representation of Camus. A schoolmaster carrying Camus' wish to be a teacher, Daru a French-Algerian like Camus and also believing himself more an Algerian than a French, and the story takes place in northern Algeria, Camus' birthplace.

Also a quote by Camus "Je proteste donc je suis" is shown in the story by the repetition of such words as bubble, revolt, uprising, rebel...

In the short story The Lottery Jackson uses so many symbols to convey ever so nicely her personal beliefs towards American low-minded society.

She mentions the village: the village shows signs of conventionalism and tradition. In villages new ideas are forbid and life must continue as was in past generations. The village is a representation of closed area and closed thoughts and superstition.

Age of Old Man Warner (77): The number 7 conveys luck and again superstition, and how he has been lucky to last so long. The number 77 refers to the history of this custom and how long it has been practiced, Old Man Warner mentions it had even been practiced before his time.

Other Villages: The northern villages have given up the custom. Shows the protestant views of the north US.

Children's talk of school and men of planting, rain, and tax at the occasion: Shows the lottery has been so easily accepted among the blind villagers and as if nothing were to happen they carried on with simple routine.

Boys gathering stone while the girls watched: Shows the passiveness of women in the society, while the men did all the work the women stood back as observers.

The scapegoat Tessie: She, being the only one who rebels against the custom and against men's dominance, is the obvious choice for the lottery winner. She rebels by 1-coming late and forgetting the cherished custom. 2-talking back to the male of the family and telling him what to do. 3-undermines



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