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Lottery and a Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

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In the book, an introduction to fiction, poetry, drama and writing (Twelfth Edition), by Kennedy, X.J and Dana Gioia, the authors indicated that even though the use of lottery to kill the village people has continued to melt down, it has brought unprecedented fear among the people living in the community. As depicted in the story, the use of lottery to kill people has existed for very many years illegally, but widely considered a traditional practice. Many people got interested and use the lottery with the intention of killing, though some of them do not achieve this earlier intention. The main reason is the fear of causing death. The story of A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings also has several frightening episodes, which convey a fictitious information that the reader might use to understand certain mysterious global occurrences. Therefore, this essay will be a critical analysis of the aspect of fear as depicted in the topic Lottery and the A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings.

In every activity, its tradition acts a very important role in creating a deeper understanding. The tradition of the lottery to kill the village people rationalizes its lack of appeal among different interest groups. There are those who are only interested in the act, even though they do not make any difference, others will only engage in it to kill people. As Lustig postulated, the traditions regarding the use of lotteries to kill have been the reason for the high number engaging in the act. Since the people got interested in the act, it became part of their traditional practices, thus gaining recognition among them. According to the authors, most people did not rebel against the traditions related to the lottery because it was a cultural practice among them and bound various people from different categories of livelihood to live harmoniously in an environment. Even though this has been ongoing for a long time, other people have looked down the issues related to the lottery, terming it a waste of time.  

The lottery was a traditional practice, that some people uphold it strictly the way predecessors did, thus making lottery not to thrive to date. The authors indicated that this tradition can help depict the future of a given cultural practice based on its impacts on the larger aspect of society. Certainly, the lottery might be done as expected yet some actors still get offended. According to the authors, this explained the melt down of Lottery in society compared to traditions relating to its use. The statement is anchored in the authors’ position on issues related to the lottery. X.J Kennedy and Dana Gioia states that;

“all the wrong things, the wrong kind of flour or the wrong kind of chocolate or what-  ever. One time I gave them away. It’s not funny, Pete.” Pete said, “Who did you give the groceries to?” “Just some people I picked up on the way home. Some fieldworkers. They had about eight kids with them and they didn’t even speak English—just nodded their heads. Still, I shouldn’t have given away the groceries. Not all of them, anyway. I really learned my lesson about that. You have to be practical. You have to be fair to yourself.” Donald leaned forward, and Pete could sense his excitement. “There’s nothing actually wrong with being in business,” he said. “As long as you’re fair to other people you can still be fair to yourself. I’m thinking of going into business, Pete”.

The transition from this act have happened gradully, thus having looked at the traditions of the lottery, it would be significant to to understand the rationale of its meltdown. This is important because certain aspects of the lottery did not auger well with a section of the society as explained herein.

In this section, the essay focuses on the meltdown in the lottery. This occurred due to increased dissatisfaction that arose from people whose relatives were victims of the act. This actually discouraged many people from participating in the activity. In a real sense, once active participation reduced, people’s commitments also became low, meaning that the traditional view about the lottery were disputed. Lottery challenges in the country have resulted in the creation of distinct resort islands. As Howar postulated, although these islands have been mostly deserted and less inhabited, they have been converted to one –island-one-hotel schemes. Despite these challenges, the government was not able to regulate the lottery since it was part of the cultural practice of elimination.

The other issue that led to a meltdown in the lottery was creating changes that characterized the act and its participants. There are people whose interests in the lottery significantly reduced once the setting was altered to suite the intentions of the organizers. The author suggested that erosion of old setting was particularly aimed at promoting the act, but made it more dangerous for the local people. However, the struggle started when the traditions failed to appeal to the people who frequently engaged in the act. For instance, there were people who alter their profile names when engaging in the lottery, thus making it difficult to determine their true identity. This was a situation that led to an identity crisis and created more problem in the determination of lottery actions. This statement could be supported by the authors’ insinuations, when they stated:

“There were nights when you would stand outside the door, just stand there, and then go away again. But most nights you’d open the door and I would hear you in the room with me, breathing. You’d come over and sit next to me on the bed—you remember, Pete, you have to—you’d sit next to me on the bed and pull the sheets back. If I was on my stomach you’d roll me over. Then you would lift up my pajama shirt and start hitting me on my stitches. You’d hit me as hard as you could, over and over. I was afraid that you’d get mad if you knew I was awake. Is that strange or what? I was afraid that you’d get mad if you found out that I knew you were trying to kill me.” Donald laughed. “Come on, you can’t tell me you don’t remember that”.

The melt down of the lottery pointed out an important view that the people had in terms of its usage and implications for the village people. Therefore, knowing its every use is another step that could be used to understand the reasons for its rejection among the people.  

In some cases, the use of lottery has passed through various generations. The practiced was honored throughout its articulation under the traditional setup as a sign of heritage and slightly adhered to during the present times. Therefore, the presentation of this theme was very spectacular in the whole literature since lottery here was used to kill the villagers. The Lottery was a symbolic representation of environmental setting in terms of social, customary and economic well being of a given group of people. Despite one’ss situation, other practices became like norms of the people without actually comprehending the meaning and significance of a particular practice. This could be supported by the authors’ assertions when they stated;

“After she’d left the room, he and I listened to the weather report and then to the sports roundup. By that time, she’d been gone so long I didn’t know if she was going to come back. I thought she might have gone to bed. I wished she’d come back down-stairs. I didn’t want to be left alone with a blind man. I asked him if he wanted another drink, and he said sure. Then I asked if he wanted to smoke some dope with me. I said I’d just rolled a number. I hadn’t, but I planned to do so in about two shakes”.

The rapid growth of its actors in the Maldives in the recent past has put excessive pressures on the different elements in the environment beyond the normal carrying capacity limits of the islands. This has compromised sustainability of the lottery to continue killing the local people. The situation has increased by the changes in the global adoption of the act including changes in knowledge level and other related factors. Despite the use of lotteries, a rise in the knowledge level for instance is cited to adversely impact lottery acting related activities, loss of property including different lottery materials and facilities, frequent  surges and high costs brought about by the attempts to adapt to different practices.

Although treated as a fiction, the story of A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings is true and gives a different perspective about nature and its creations with extra ordinary behavior(Kennedy and Gioia 364). The author of this story recalls his encounter with such unusual powers in the darkest part of the planet, where he experienced certain unrealistic forces that one cannot understand easily. This was experienced in the sign of an old and unusual human nature, perhaps, the story created fear among potential audience, but that was the true aspect that the author wanted  to bring out.

As depicted in the story, it brought a non-spiritual possession of an individual who had not got into contact with usual powers, but rather confusing ones. The author also indicated that the powers that the man possessed and their impacts caused a lot of fear, which according to the increased till it reached a point when any interaction with such unusual powers could not have more effect on him.

In summary, certain cultural practices such as the use of lottery to kill the village people, though were practiced in the traditional society, current changes in human knowledge have watered down their usefulness. They have melted down over a period and that many people do not want to identify with them. Whether the practice had an important role or not does not arise, but its overall impact on the society determines if it should be embraced or rejected. For example, a practice that leads to death could easily overtaken by the technological advancement and change in perception among the people. According to the information presented, such changes are responsible for watering down the lottery that was used in killing the people. Concerning the A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, one realizes that there reaches a time when the level of fear that an occurrence creates could reach maximal and no more fear could shake an individual. This was evidenced when the author could no longer fear the unusual powers that the devil instilled in him.

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