Islam in Shirley Jackson's the Lottery/L'ISLAM DANS LA LOTERIE DE SHIRLEY JACKSON

Article excerpt

Abstract:

This paper examines a cross-cultural concern in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, underlining the story's striking allusions to Islam which can be categorically seen in the following five aspects: the symbolic black-box, stoning, the status of women, the fixed annual date(s) of the lottery, and the act of calling the participants in the lottery five times (calls), in addition to further points regarding characterization and scapegoat. It turns out that The Lottery is a carefully-woven complexity of symbols allegorizing Islam. Above all, Jackson's symbolic black box shares a great deal of the distinctions of the Ka'ba and the Black Stone and the brutal ancient rite she recruits echoes the two aspects of stoning in Islamic Hajj and Islam's penal law regarding adultery. Besides, the annual dates of the lottery reflect on annual rituals in Islam, with additional significance of the twenty-seventh (and twenty-sixth) day of the month. Further, the status of Jackson's women perhaps alludes to propaganda-views of women's secondary position in Islam, and the story possibly points to Islamic prayer. Nonetheless, the allegory of Islam in The Lottery seems to reflect Jackson's vague, confused, superficial, and stereotypical perception of Islam and Islamic rituals.

Key words: Shirley Jackson; The Lottery; Islam; Symbolism; allusion; cross-cultural stereotypes

Résumé: Cet article examine une préoccupation interculturelle dans La Loterie de Shirley Jackson, en soulignant les allusions frappantes de l'histoire vis-à-vis de l'Islam qui peut être catégoriquement vu dans les cinq aspects suivants: la symbolique «boîte noire», la lapidation, le statut des femmes, la date annuelle fixe de la loterie et l'acte d'appeler cinq fois les participants à la loterie (appels), en plus des points supplémentaires concernant la caractérisation et la désignation de boucs émissaires. Il s'avère que La Loterie est une complexité soigneusement tissée de symboles allégorisant l'Islam. Surtout, la boîte noire symbolique se réfère aux caractéristiques de la Ka'ba, et les termes de la "pierre noire" et du "rite antique brutal" qu'elle utilise renvoient aux deux aspects de la lapidation du Hajj islamique et au droit pénal islamique concernant l'adultère.En outre, la date annuelle de la loterie reflète les rites annuels dans l'Islam, avec une signification additionnelle de la vingt-septième (et vingt-sixième) jour du mois.De plus, le statut de la femme de Jackson fait allusion peut-être à la vue propagande de la position secondaire des femmes dans l'Islam, et l'histoire pointe peut-être sur la prière islamique.Néanmoins, l'allégorie de l'Islam dans La Loterie semble reflète une conception vague, confuse, superficielle et stéréotypée de Jackson sur l'Islam et sur des rituels islamiques.

Mots-Clés: Shirley Jackson; La Loterie; Islam; symbolisme; allusion; intercultural; stéréotypes

"It isn't fair, it isn't right" Mrs. Hutchinson cries in The Lottery (254), Shirley Jackson's much phrased story, mostly anthologized as an example of and exercise into reading and decoding symbolism in literature. A shocking narrative about scapegoat, The Lottery is built on a narrative structure that makes the reader share in the criminal act, for it is too late in the story when the reader does realize that the winner of the lottery will be stoned to death.2 As such, it is not surprising that when the story was published in The New Yorker in 1948, a significant date indeed, it was received with public outrage, whereby people wanted Jackson to frankly reveal her intention behind writing the story. American readers felt antagonized by the narrative and demanded clarification from the author. In her biography of Jackson, Lenemaja Friedman reported that when the story was published "no New Yorker story had ever received" a similar response by readers, hundreds of whom sent letters that were marred by "bewilderment, speculation, and old-fashioned abuse" (Friedman 63). …