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The Lottery: Free choice, self knowledge and Guilt

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FINDING YOURSELF THROUGH THE PAIN Based on the Novel: The Lottery By: Beth Goobie Student: Monique Roopanram Teacher: Ms. Kirshenblat Course: ENG1D5-04 Date: Friday, June 8, 2007 There are many instances in our lives which prompt us to ask ourselves the questions: "Who am I?", "What am I doing here?", "Does anyone know I exist?", "Does anybody care about me?", "Why am I doing this?", and "What was I thinking?". Life is full of opportunities to achieve excellence or failure. Some of us choose excellence, some choose failure, and some are not given a choice. In the novel The Lottery, Sal Hanson is chosen as the year's lottery winner at her school Saskatoon Collegiate (S.C.). This role enables the Shadow Council to take advantage of her by making her do their "dirty work". Not only is the role of the lottery winner demeaning, but it also takes Sal on a journey where she learns free choice, self-knowledge, and guilt. Having free choice is essential for individuals in order to define what kind of person they are, and who they aspire to be. After Sal Hanson is chosen as the lottery winner, the luxury of free choice is taken from her. The Shadow Council has control over Sal's choices that, now, consist of following Shadow Council's orders to a tee or suffering the consequence of receiving demerits. ...read more.


"Panic began....Brydan hadn't acted like this yesterday afternoon, and the word had been out then" (67) is Sal's reaction as Brydan ignores her during one of their band rehearsals. After this great betrayal, Sal turns to the one person that seems like a friend to her. Ironically, this is Willis Cass, the president of Shadow Council. After learning of Willis' character (through playing his composition "Inside the Question" with him), Sal learns that Willis is in the same predicament as she is in - he does not know who he is anymore. I look in the mirror and my face gets further and further away, there's so much shit piled in front of it. I reek, I can't bear the stench of myself or any of my so-called friends. The only place I can get away from it, the only place I can truly see myself now, is when I look at you. ...You haunt me like the hawk's reflection in the river....You're my shadow, my other option. The choice (212). This is how Willis expresses his lack of self-knowledge, and gives the readers a glimpse of the tribulations he would face if he were to show his true colours; different than what he's been transformed into. ...read more.


- 'he' referring to her brother, Dusty, her confidant. Later on in the novel, Sal starts to get tense in a driving lesson with her brother Dusty. Sal uses this opportunity to finally confide in her brother, confessing to him: I was my fault...I killed my daddy. I killed him...I screamed 'I hate you, you're wreaking everything, I hate you so much"...he looked at me so sad, like I'd stabbed his heart. And then he drove the car into the tree on purpose, because...oh Dusty, because I said I hated him (228). Dusty then explains to Sal that her father had planned to kill himself anyway; that it was not her fault. After learning of this, Sal feels as if the wall inside her had been broken, and was never coming back. The relief she feels is what helps Sal deal with whatever the Shadow Council throws at her, and realizes that carrying a burden of guilt alone isn't always such a good thing. Having free choice, self-knowledge, and being "guilt-free" is essential in helping us deal with any situation that may come our way. At the end of the novel, Sal learns that many valuable lessons on these three topics, which in turn, help her in her journey as the lottery winner. The three topics also inevitably aide Sal in realizing that "nothing fits the way it used to, there is no black-and-white" (184). ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

5 star(s)

This is an excellent essay that follows its theme closely. Points made are skilfully supported, using well-chosen quotations, though some of these are too long. A little paraphrasing and shorter quotations would be an improvement.
There are a few errors of usage, eg: "apart" instead of "a part" and some superfluous or wrongly used prepositions, but these do not detract from the excellence of the argument and general style of this essay.

5 stars

Marked by teacher Jeff Taylor 20/05/2013

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