The Human Development in Thank You Ma’am and Lottery
As the human condition is, far into history with our art and fascination for literature. Illustrating, weaving the fabric of our stories with the myriad planes of color, vibrance, illumination, twisted and turned together into a journey we all gracefully embrace. Some have already captivated these themes of setting, tone and point of view with the excellent choices of early post-moderism or full-post moderism and existentialism which personally I gravitate towards is ‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jacking, ‘Thank you Ma’am’ by Langston Hughes, and ‘Pleasantville’ by Gary Ross. These stories exploit the ‘meaning’ having a reflection of our humanisms and psyche in specific prospects of time, giving us an eye-opening experiences otherwise we wouldn’t be able to without literature.
The early tone of Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery’ is light, fun, and peaceful. Jackson’s opening sentence tells readers that the weather was perfect. ‘The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.’ That’s ‘go outside and play some catch’ weather. It makes you think of packing a basket of food, taking a blanket, and having a picnic. That single sentence likely brings a smile to most readers faces, especially readers who have been dealing with winter for a few months. The tone of ‘The Lottery’ is objective and detached. The narrator writes in the calm, journalistic style of a neutral bystander reporting on a scene they are not part of. This journalistic tone is set in the opening paragraph, which is full of facts—such as the date, (June 27th), how many people participate in the lottery, and how long it takes. Using this kind of deadpan narrative voice is an effective technique. The narrator stands back and lets readers experience the emotions that the ‘lottery’ elicits for themselves. This shocking event marks a dramatic turning point in how we understand the story. I think that Jackson uses stoning as a metaphor for the innate bloodlust that can lurk beneath a modern, civilized facade. But it’s a turning point in other ways as well. One critic notes that the ending transforms ‘The Lottery’ from realism to symbolism, as we suddenly understand the town and its inhabitants as being symbolic rather than actual. For Tess Hutchinson, the ending of the lottery is certainly not what she expects. Although she began the story as an eager latecomer to the event, the story’s conclusion brings out her hypocrisy: Tess Hutchinson’s quite willing to participate in group-sponsored violence until she becomes its victim. The setting of the story is specific and the readers are presented with every minute of detail while the lottery is taking place. Emotions of the villagers express discomfort, so the setting of the story hardly contributes to the central idea but it stimulates the climax immensly.
The mood of Langston Hughes’ short story “Thank You, M’am” is hopeful. This tone is evident in the plot of the story, which begins with a young boy named Roger attempting to steal the purse Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones. Hughes’ tone is lightly humorous as he describes the encounter between Mrs. Jones and Roger, which Mrs. Jones decidedly gets the better of. Roger has picked the wrong woman to rob. She is much stronger and bolder than he could have imagined, and she drags him home with her. The mood is hopeful because of what happens next. As Mrs. Jones engages Roger in conversation and cooks for him, Roger begins to have a change of heart. He begins to want Mrs. Jones to see him as trustworthy. When Mrs. Jones actually gives him money, she is silently expressing the hope that her unexpected kindness will change Roger into someone who won’t try to steal anymore. As Roger leaves her house, he wants to say “Thank you, M’am” to Mrs. Jones, but by then the door is already closed. The fact that Roger wishes to thank her shows that she has made at least something of an impression on him. Our hope, as readers, is that Roger has learned his lesson as a result of Mrs. Jones’ kindness. he story ends with the note that Roger ‘ wants to say something else other than ‘Thank you, m’am” for the compassion he’s been shown, and although it is noted that the paths of these two never cross again, it seems that Mrs. Jones has given Roger a reason to choose a different path in life. Another theme is that human strength can be found in unlikely places. Roger certainly doesn’t choose a ‘victim’ who he thinks will put up a fight. Not only does Mrs. Jones retain possession of her purse, she also effectively takes control of the situation. Hughes wrote ‘Thank You, M’am’ in dialect, using colloquialisms and idioms common at that time. This use of dialect makes the dialogue between the characters more natural, which in turn draws the reader deeper into the story. In the course of the story, the blue suede shoes Roger wants to buy become a symbol of his desire for a better life. He lives in what appears to be a lower-middle class neighborhood, and the fact that he tries to steal from Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones suggests that he would not be able to afford the shoes otherwise. For him, the shoes aren’t just a symbol: they’re something that would otherwise be out of reach. Two important themes in the story are shame and forgiveness. Roger first feels shame when he’s reprimanded for trying to steal, but he’s later shown forgiveness by Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones, who teaches him an important lesson about dignity and respect.
Gary Ross’ film Pleasantville, While the basic premise finds a pair of 90s teenagers being transported into the black-and-white world of a Leave It to Beaver-like 1950s TV show where the weather is always 72 degrees and the basketball team has never missed a shot, Pleasantville is highly metaphorical in nature. The theme is one of repression—both external and internal—and thanks in large part to the film’s timeless quality and avoidance of specific references, Pleasantville remains an incredibly potent allegory two decades later. Especially for its intended audience of teenagers. The film certainly dabbles in socio-political repression, with strong parallels to the civil rights movement all the way down to “No Coloreds” signs when this “disease” of color starts spreading. But it doesn’t really get too specific in this regard, and admittedly there are literally no people of color in the entire film. This lack of actual diversity stands out when viewing the film through the prism of 2018, but it’s also clear through the filmmaking techniques that Ross is after a more general idea of repression, with an authoritarian bent. Indeed, most of the shots of Big Bob are framed low and canted, calling to mind archival footage of ruthless dictators. It’s no wonder Ross would go on to direct the film adaptation of The Hunger Games. They show the struggle between the races and the objection to change harboured by the traditionalists. Therefore, there is a plethora of cinematic devices used by Ross in these scenes. As aforementioned, tracking shots are used. However, more importantly, slow motion shots are a main feature of these scenes. For example, while the soda shop is being overturned there are slow motion shots highlighting the importance and drama of this twist in the story. These shots are particularly effective in leaving no doubt in the audience’s mind that the riots are extremely substantial within the movie and are going to lead to many different means of consequence. However, change is the crux of the production, it is what the whole movie regards – change and adjustment. The cinematic techniques used to symbolise change in this scene alone, such as the thunder and lightning and the sinister shadows are astonishing, and convey to the audience precisely what was intended. Overall, there are many themes to Pleasantville. Such as, the quest for knowledge, the strive for happiness, the freedom of expression, the need for self-confidence, racism, prejudices, appreciation, becoming more well rounded, liberation, unity, revolution, new beginnings, acceptance, freedom, the loosening of stereotypes, fulfilling potential and the juxtaposition between perfect and imperfect worlds. However, the main theme of Pleasantville is change, and how it is dealt with. The director, Gary Ross uses many cinematic techniques, such as characterisation, the use of colour and black and white, the exploration of journeys, camera angles and in particular tracking and low angled shots, juxtaposition and the use of music.
In conclusion, A theme is a dominant thought, a unifying vision, a moral. It is the central idea behind your story. A theme is a natural, unobtrusive part of a story. The writer starts with an idea; as the story develops, it is influenced by the writer’s own philosophy or observation of the human condition. This is the theme, the quality that brings with it a sense of values and drama. These truth statements about how the world works, or at least how the narrator has observed it to function, are usually debatable, but they’re not necessarily revelations: If they were, they might not resonate with readers. These truth statements about how the world works, or at least how the narrator has observed it to function, are usually debatable, but they’re not necessarily revelations: If they were, they might not resonate with readers. Once you’ve taken the time and effort to “sow the seeds of theme” in your mind, you need to let go and trust in the magic. Your subconscious will guide you as you write a focused novel that has a deeper layer of meaning in the form of a strong theme.
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