Kakos' 6th Hour

Reactions and comments from my sixth hour Honors American Literature class.


My favorite place in the world to be is underwater. My second favorite place is the front of a classroom.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It's What You've Been Waiting for...the Blog of Ryan, Ryan, and Matt

Ryan, Ryan and Matt’s Starting Activity
Chapters 21 and 22

Passage from Chapter 21 in Huckleberry Finn
“…and then he stood up straight and stiff where Sherburn had stood, frowning and having his hat-brim down over his eyes, and sung out, “Boggs!” and then fetched his cane down to a level, and says “Bang!” staggered backwards, and says “Bang!” again and fell down flat on his back. The people that had seen the thing said he done it perfect; said it was just exactly the way it all happened. (159)”

Excerpt from Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery
“Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. "Come on," she said. "Hurry up." Mr. Dunbar had small stones in both hands, and she said. gasping for breath. "I can't run at all. You'll have to go ahead and I'll catch up with you." The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles. Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. "It isn't fair," she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, "Come on, come on, everyone." Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him. "It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.”

How does the “lottery” society handle the death compared to the society in Huck Finn. In what ways are they similar and different? Which society handles the murder more lightly? How does this section reveal the personality of Huck Finn? Does this give insight as to how Twain viewed death?


Blogger Christine D said...

Both societies take death pretty lightly. It seems to me that both have become acustomed to death, and have learned how to cope with it. Even though both have become used to death, in Huck's world it is unexpected and could happen at any time. In "The Lottery" death is a structure event, therefore taking away the suprise factor which makes death harder to accept. I think that Twain would see death as an unavoidable event which can happen at any time, but he would have accepted death when it came his way, like Huck's society did.

7:02 PM  
Blogger allison n said...

I agree with Christine, both handle the issue of death fairly lightly. The Lottery, it seems, is much more emotional. Mrs. Hutchinson is screaming for mercy, while the people just shrug their shoulders in Huck. I don’t think Twain took death as seriously as some, but he shows the many different faces of death all throughout the book. He takes a playful approach to it when Huck fakes his own death, puts some feeling in it when Huck witnesses the bloody death of Buck, and he also sees the nonchalance of decease, shown in this quote.

8:08 PM  
Blogger Andie R said...

The society in "The Lottery" handles death more lightly, because no one is punished for it. No crimes have been committed by this woman, nor has she apparently injured anyone's pride, as Boggs does in Huck Finn. The murder is carried out machine-like, with everyone participating and no one protesting. It's such a regular event that the villagers have become numb to it, and they have grown up knowing nothing else. It's all normal for them. In Huck Finn, however, it's all about the insufferable and unforgiving pride of the whites of high society. Slaveholders could not show mercy or allow anyone to distort their cruel image. Therefore, the man that kills Boggs is doing so because he feels he has to in order to keep his control and influence. He simply cannot tolerate someone of a lower class insulting him so.

I think Twain is intending a more satirical view on the South in general than commenting on death. He had already satirized the lower class white population through Huck's father, and so it would make sense to attack high society's flaws as well.

8:16 PM  
Blogger Logan J said...

I don't think one is lighter than the other. The Lottery's village's method of death is turned into an annual event, a party almost, yet has an overwhelming somber and pain to it. In Huck Finn the deaths have taken many different feels to them, as Allison described.

This reveals that Huck Finn is mature in an odd way. The casual tone in his voice seems so collected, and matter-of-factly.

8:45 PM  
Blogger anam said...

I agree with Andie, that in The Lottery the method of killing is more unemotional, similar to a machine, and it is also a tradition that most of the characters do not disagree with, so it does not appear “brutal”. It appeared to me that in The Lottery the community did not experience any death, with the exception of the annual lottery which determined the citizen who would be stoned to death. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn the death of Boggs was taken pretty lightly, but the tone was not as cold-hearted and impersonal than the death scene in The Lottery. I think it is strange that Mrs. Hutchinson was killed by her peers and fellow neighbors with out any compassion, where as in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn I think that the lower-class Boggs was not killed as ruthlessly as Mrs. Hutchinson was. The death of Mrs. Hutchinson was full of betrayal from the people of her hometown and lack of sympathy for her. The death of Boggs was probably at that time interpreted by the characters not as unmerciful because he was apart of a lower class and in the time of Twain social classes were the basis of importance.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Amy O. said...

There doesn't seem to be much difference in either context as far as how the issue of death is addressed. This is probably a clue that both of these pieces can be seen from a satirical point of view. In reality, death is an emotional heavy issue; whereas in both of these pieces it is presented nonchalontly and without feeling.
This technique would make the reader pause and think about the deeper issue - what is it that's blinding the characters so much that unreasonable murder has become acceptable?

3:56 PM  
Blogger Hannah S said...

I agree that both societies handle these murders very lightly. As several people above have pointed out, the society in "The Lottery" has become numb to these murders; I think that the society in "Huck Finn" has experienced the same thing and has become numb to the murder of black people. Neither society really cares what happens when they kill these people and they have no emotion towards it.

4:41 PM  
Blogger A_Nielsen said...

I think both societies took death as something that didn’t really matter because both societies showed no remorse or mourning for those who lost their lives as a result of those they lived among. I also think death didn’t receive a emotional response because it was an reoccurring event that they basically grew up with. I can’t decide what Twain’s opinion in death is but I think this passage was to show the reader what life was like for Huck and the people in his society and leave a lasting effect to the readers perception of what society was like during major racist times

8:34 PM  

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