Expert answer:Significance of The Setting & Dress of Characters

  

Solved by verified expert:PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS IN GREAT DETAIL. ATTACHED IS STORIES THAT WILL HELP ANSWER THE QUESTIONS 1. Discuss the significance of the setting, conversation, and dress of the characters in light of the human sacrifice at the end of “the lottery.”2. In “The Lottery,” the author sets a tale of horror against a beautiful, sunny day in June. List three negative clues that the author uses to foreshadow that the story is NOT going to have a happy ending.3. In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Montresor exploits a weakness that Fortunato has. Discuss what weakness Fortunato has and how this weakness leads to his death at the hands of Montresor.4. The theme of sacrifice and humility pervades “A Worn Path.” List three examples from the story that support this theme of self-sacrifice for the benefit of another.5. List three clues that the author uses in “A&P” to prepare the reader for Sammy’s decision to quit his job at the end of the story.6. One theme in “A Rose for Emily” is that of living in the past. using evidence from the story, how support this theme.7. In “This is what it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” no one seems to like Thomas Builds-the-fire. Explain his function as story teller AND why no one likes to hear his stories
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Lecture Notes
“A Worn Path” (text, pages 505- 511)
When Eudora Welty published this story, many readers wondered how can such an elderly
woman like Phoenix Jackson possibly have a young grandson at her age? Is her grandson dead
and she takes this journey out of habit? Is this an event that happened earlier in her life, and she
keeps reliving it? Since Welty was still alive at this time, someone asked her about these
troubling issues. Her reply went something to the effect that none of that matters because those
issues are not what the story is about. Some readers have speculated that perhaps she is taking
care of her great grandson. Maybe this is a young boy she calls her grandson, but he is really a
child of relative who has left him in Phoenix’s care. Guess as we will, Welty is right. That is not
what the story is about.
The opening paragraph of the story sets the scene for a journey of hardship and sacrifice
(No. 1) as we are introduced to the protagonist, an old woman by the name of Phoenix Jackson
who is making her way along a path early in the morning on a “bright frozen day” in December.
She is very old and sways from side to side as she walks along. She uses a “small cane made
from an umbrella” as her guide, “tapping the frozen earth in front of her.” Although Phoenix
Jackson is old and has trouble seeing, she is not completely blind and helpless. She uses her
other senses, depending “on her feet to know where to take her.” This journey will not be an
easy one. Phoenix is a strong-willed, determined, tenacious, stubborn elderly woman who will
not be stopped from accomplishing her mission, a mission she has been on many times before
(No. 2).
One of the events that reveals even more of her character occurs when she encounters a
black dog that knocks her down. A hunter comes along and sees her on the ground. He picks
her up, and she thanks him for his trouble. He encourages her to go back home, but she refuses.
He assumes that she “wouldn’t miss going to town to see Santa Claus.” Phoenix is old, fragile
and nearly blind, why would someone think she is enduring this kind of challenge to see Santa
Claus? This remark almost seems to be more of an insult than anything else. During her
encounter with the hunter (No. 4, 2), Phoenix sees a nickel that the hunter unknowingly dropped.
She retrieves the nickel while the hunter chases the dog away and remarks, “God watching me
the whole time. I come to stealing.” We learn that Phoenix is a woman who is familiar with
God’s word. Some may argue that she was not stealing; she picked up money off the ground.
Others will add that she knew the hunter dropped the money, and she didn’t tell him about it.
Still others will say that the hunter said he would give her a dime if he had any money with him.
Here again, it is not really about how we can or cannot justify her keeping the money. The fact
that Phoenix goes against her religious beliefs and keeps the money speaks of how desperate her
situation must be.
Much like a knight on a quest for the Holy Grail, Phoenix encounters a series of obstacles
that she must overcome before she can obtain the medicine that her grandson needs to stay alive
(No. 3). She faces hills that seem to shackle her feet, thorny bushes that tear at her skirts, and a
dog that knocks her down. She performs feats such as crossing a log that is over a creek—with
her eyes closed. She crawls through a barbed-wired fence. Like a knight, Phoenix faces the
trials of the journey and never quits along the way. She is on a quest and must be successful.
Her quest, however, is not motivated by selfishness or the desire for any type of glory or
recognition (No. 7). Instead, as we learn at the end of the story, her journey is one of selfsacrifice for her sick grandson. The theme of sacrifice and humility pervades the entire story, as
this selfless and humble woman goes about her journey on the way to the clinic/pharmacy to get
medicine for her grandson who had swallowed lye when he was younger. The medicine will
keep his throat from closing up and suffocating him. While she is there, one of the attendants at
the clinic gives her a nickel; she puts that with the nickel she has, and now she has a dime to
spend on a Christmas present for her little grandson. She wants to buy a little paper windmill for
him. Nothing about this trip is done for Phoenix’s benefit.
While she is on her journey, she meets several people before her trip is over (No. 5).
First, she meets the hunter who helps her up. His reaction to her seems to be one of shock and
amazement. Here is this elderly woman who is out on a frozen day. When he points his gun at
her, Phoenix bravely stands and faces him. He remarks that “you must be a hundred years old,
and scared of nothing.” She again demonstrates strength and nobility when the attendant at the
clinic rudely questions her about who she is and why she has come.
Two of the people she encounters treat her with respect and kindness. Before she goes to
the clinic, she needs someone to tie her shoes. She stops a lady and asks if the lady would tie her
shoe. The lady puts her Christmas packages down and takes the time to tie Phoenix’s shoes.
The other person is the nurse at the clinic. She knows Phoenix and why she has come. By the
time Phoenix gets to the clinic, she is so exhausted that she temporarily forgets why she is there.
The nurse helps Phoenix get seated and proceeds to explain, for the benefit of others, why this
elderly woman is here in the first place. Rude or friendly, Phoenix takes it all in stride.
Phoenix Jackson is clearly the protagonist in this story. It might be tempting to conclude
that some of the people she meets along the way are the antagonists (No. 6). However, the real
antagonist in the this story is everything that she faces along her journey. Since she is old, nearly
blind, and feeble, some might even see Phoenix as her own antagonist. Her body itself works
against her on a journey that also presents her with numerous challenges. Food for thought:
Now she has to go down the stairs and make the same trip back home. Her ordeal is only half
over.
Lecture Notes
“Everyday Use” (text, pages 469-475)
In this story, we have quilts as a symbol or American culture (No. 1) Quilts, long
recognized as a part of Americana, were used by slaves heading North as maps to freedom.
Specific quilt patterns contained covert signals. The quilt itself was hung on a fence or
clothesline so runaway slaves could see it as they passed by and know which houses and
directions would be safe. We might also consider how quilts were made. In many communities,
the ladies would have “quilting bees” on a certain day of the month or whenever convenient.
They worked together to get the quilts made quicker and have a time of fellowship as well.
Large families often had quilting projects going all the time. Quilts were usually composed of
scraps of leftover fabric or even old clothes. Material was too expensive to waste, so every piece
must be used. These pieces went into the “scrap bag” and were later used to make quilts that
were valuable for keeping someone warm in the cold winter months. Quilts were often a thing of
beauty but useful in everyday life at the same time.
In “Everyday Use,” the quilts represent a different view of heritage for the three women
in this story. For Maggie (No. 2), the quilts symbolize a heritage of her everyday life, her
devotion to her family, and her fond memories of family. To Mama, the quilts represent a shelter
for the intimacy of marriage, childbirth, and growing old with someone. For Mama, the quilts
also symbolize a family heritage that has been passed down from person to person, from
generation to generation. For Dee/Wangero (No. 3), the quilts symbolize a heritage that is for
show, not for use. She wants to hang the quilts on her wall—perhaps to impress her politically
correct friends.
The story also reveals a look at heritage when Dee changes her name to Wangero
Leewanika Kemanjo (No. 4). The family name of Dee has been exchanged for one that is more
culturally correct for the time. Dee/Wangero no longer wants the name of “Dee” because she
sees that name as one associated with the oppression of slavery. Mama and Maggie, on the other
hand, see “Dee” as a family name, a heritage that represents people Mama knows or knows about
because of being told. The name represents a history of Mama’s relatives.
Notice that Mama is not critical of Dee if she wants to be called by another name. In
fact, when Dee/Wangero tells Mama that she doesn’t have to call her by that name if she doesn’t
want to, Mama responds with “Why Shouldn’t I. If that’s what you want us to call you, we’ll
call you.” While Mama is not critical of Dee/Wangero, she makes it clear that her “roots” are
her family.
In addition to the quilt, other symbols are seen throughout the story as well (No. 5).
a. the family’s yard: Although the family must work hard to keep the dirt yard clean, this yard
suggests safety and warmth. This land is part of Mama, and she is proud to a part of it.
b. Maggie’s burn scars: While these scars are very real because Maggie was burned in a house
fire, they also symbolize the results of life. Many times we are emotionally scared by
certain events in life.
c. Dee’s Polaroid camera: This camera suggests superficiality and modernity. It also stands as
a reminder of the bankruptcy of a society that values instant gratification more than it
does the work and craft that go in making a quilt.
Note: Walker makes it clear in her story that she is taking a look at two different ways of seeing
one’s heritage: cultural or family connection. She is not necessarily critical of either, but she did
give the most wanted quilt to Maggie because she would know how to use it. How do you view
your heritage? What is your heritage?
Lecture Notes
“The Lottery” (text, pages 461-67)
Shirley Jackson is widely acclaimed for her stories that contain elements of horror and
supernatural. When The New Yorker published Jackson’s story “The Lottery” in 1948, they
received the largest volume of mail ever received by the magazine up to that time. Since then,
“The Lottery” has been published in numerous languages, and many high schools in the United
States still consider “The Lottery” to be required reading. “The Lottery” is quite possibly the
most well-known short story of the Twentieth Century.
As the story begins, we notice the setting (No. 1). The town assembles on a beautiful,
sunny day, June 27. The day was clear with “the fresh warmth of a full summer day.” We are
told that the “flowers were blossoming profusely” and the “grass was richly green.” This small
town begins the lottery around 10:00 in the morning and is finished by noon. What a beautiful
day for the town’s lottery. Some of the children are playing with a pile of stones as the citizens
begin to gather in anticipation of the event.
As the people gather, we notice their dress and conversation (No. 5). When the men
begin to gather they talk of “planting and rain, tractors and taxes.” The women, “wearing faded
house dresses and sweaters,” begin to gather as well. They greet each other and exchange “bits
of gossip.” Notice that their clothes are common, everyday, and their conversation is about
common things. Everything about these people says that they are ordinary, average people who
are gathering for a common, ordinary event for them. All town members are present, including
the youngest to the oldest, Old Man Warner.
The parents soon call their children to stop play and join them as Mr. Summers, the man
in charge of the lottery, appears with the shabby, black, wooden box used in the drawing. He is
followed by Mr. Graves. The mood of those present seems to change to a sense of nervousness.
When Mr. Summers calls for someone to help him, no one comes forth quickly. Why not? After
all, this is the lottery. Some lucky family could be rich when its over. At least that is what most
might think. Before the lottery begins, they conduct a swearing in of Mr. Summers as the
“official of the lottery.” This is a seemingly formal act for what many of us would presume was
a simple town drawing to see who wins the lottery. Right as the lottery is about to begin, Mrs.
Tessie Hutchinson comes running in and joins her husband in the crowd. Mr. Summers jokingly
states that he thought they might “have to get along” without her. Her reply was, “Wouldn’t
have me leave ‘m dishes in the sink, now, would you?” Is she a really neat housekeeper, or
could her remarks have a much more significant meaning?
The lottery procedure is to have the head of each family household come forward and
draw a slip of paper from the box. They are to keep the paper folded until everyone has drawn.
As this process proceeds, we hear a conversation between the Adams family and Old Man
Warner. Mr. and Mrs. Adams claim that some places have already quit lottery, and others are
talking about stopping it. Old Man Warner has harsh words for that “pack of crazy fools.”
Giving up the lottery to him means trouble because “there’s always been a lottery.” Mr. Warner
even remembers the old saying, “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.”
Now, it is time to see which family has the winning ticket, the one with the black dot.
The winner is the Hutchinson family. Notice that Tessie’s reaction is not what might be
expected. Her family “won,” and she immediately claims, “You didn’t give him time enough to
take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!” Obviously, this is not the joyous occasion
we were expecting.
Now the drawing enters the second phase. Each member of the winning family gets
another opportunity to draw to determine who in the family will be the winner of the lottery.
Every member of that household has to draw. There are five members in the Hutchinson
household: Bill, Tessie, Bill Jr., Nancy, and little Dave/Davy. Four folded pieces of paper plus
the one with the black dot, are placed in the box. One member of the Hutchinson family will win
the lottery.
As Tessie continues to protest the unfairness of the drawing, the drawing proceeds with
little Davy being helped up to the box by Mr. Graves. He is so young that Mr. Summers
suggests that Mr. Graves hold the paper for him. One by one, each family member takes a
folded piece of paper. When the papers are opened, Tessie is the winner of the lottery. Over her
protests of “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right” Mrs. Tessie Hutchinson is stoned to death.
Considering the outcome of the lottery, the title seems ironic (No. 6). We normally
associate a lottery with winning a significant amount of money and being rich for the rest of
one’s life. Ahhh, win the lottery and live the good life. Evidently, this lottery has nothing to do
with money or living. This is the death lottery.
Now, we need take a look at the meanings of some of the items and people in the lottery
(Nos. 2 and 3). Old Man Warner represents the older generation, the die-hard traditionalists,
who cling to the past because it has always been that way. Mr. Adams, on the other hand,
represents the younger generation. The youth in society who want change; they talk about
change, but they end up going along with everyone else; they end up going along with the
harmful power of superstitions and mindless conformity. How about Mr. Summers and Mr.
Graves? Is it just a coincidence that their names mirror the events of the day? Their names
reflect the event itself. The lottery takes place on a beautiful summer day that will end up with
one of the town’s members in the grave.
The hint to the meaning of the village square, where the lottery takes place, may be in the
word “square” itself. Square, in a slang sense of the word, can mean fair, honest, or right. For
example, a square deal can mean an honest deal, a fair deal. Remember Tessie’s words, “It isn’t
fair; it isn’t right.” Mrs. Hutchinson’s apron may signify a cover-up or some sort of protection.
The villagers cover up this tradition that others have quit doing and still others talk of giving up.
The apron may also signify how they protect themselves from charges of murder by claiming
they are just following a tradition. The color black has been long associated with death and
mourning in many cultures. The black spot on the paper marks the one who is chosen for death.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect in “The Lottery” is the presence of the children (No.
4). What parents would want their children, or any other children for that matter, to participate
in a death lottery? Would the villagers stone a child if that child won the lottery? For them, it is
all part of the tradition, and they want their children to become familiar with the tradition so that
the tradition continues into future generations.
Some wonder why no one moves to stop the lottery (No. 8)? The Adams family talks
about others who have stopped the lottery. The fact that they talk about quitting lottery seems to
indicate that they would like to discontinue the practice. Why don’t they come forward when
Tessie is about to be stoned? Why don’t they agree with her when she says “It isn’t right.”?
Perhaps they too fall victim to the superstitions and conformity surrounding the tradition of the
lottery. They pay lip service to stopping the lottery but take no real action. Perhaps they take no
action because they are afraid if they do not conform, they will be sacrificed along with Tessie.
If we look at the events leading up to the lottery, the ending should not be so shocking.
Sometimes the clues are subtle, but Jackson does foreshadow the tragic ending of the story (No.
7). The clues are as follows:
a. the pile of stones at the beginning of the story
b. the nervousness of the crowd as the lottery approaches
c. hesitation to help Mr. Summers
d. the shabby, black box
e. the black spot on the paper
f. Tessie will not leave her dishes (She knows someone will not be returning home.)
g. the swearing in ceremony
h. the superstitious saying (“Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.”)
When Jackson’s story was published, the office of The New Yorker received numerous
letters wondering what the message (No. 9) of the story could possibly be. Jackson supposedly
responded by saying that by setting the story of this brutal ritual in a small village, she hoped to
show man’s inhumanity to man in the guise of tradition. Her story emphasizes how people go
along with what is happening simply because it is a tradition—mindless conformity justified by a
long-held tradition.
Still others have looked at the story and come away with another message as well. Since
the children were present to go along with the tradition, what are we as a society teaching our
children? That is indeed a thought to be considered by all.
Lecture Notes
“Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne (text, page 489)
The narrator of this story is the third-person, limited omniscient narrator who is limited to
the thoughts of Brown (No 1). With a first-person narrator, the reader expects to have some
unanswered questions because the story is from the point of one person. With this third-person
narrator, we anticipate the advantage of getting answers to all questions. In this story, we do not
get all the answers we expect.
The story has two important settings (No 2): [note: This story was written well over 150
years ago. Attitudes about nature and civilization have changed somewhat. Years ago, some
people believed it was their duty to bring order out of disorder. Nature was something that
needed to be conquered and dominated for the good of mankind.)
a. Salem—this is the city. Inside the city there is safety, organization, and government. This is
significant …
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