Speak Up For Others Or Who Will Speak Up For You
The poem "First They Came For Me" by Martin Niemoller shows why we should speak up for others.
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out/
Because I was not a Socialist . . . Then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak for me."
We are shown this same theme in Shirley Jackson's "The lottery," through the character Mrs. Tessie Hutchinson who becomes the scapegoat. Dictionary.com defines the term scapegoat to mean " a person or group to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place." In Shirley Jackson's "The lottery", the character Mrs. Tessie Hutchinson embodies this definition
In the lottery, Mrs. Tessie Hutchinson shows that she sees nothing wrong with the lottery, and actually looking forward to it. We can assume that when the past "winners" of the lottery tried to convince the villagers to not go along with the lottery once they drew the winning piece of wood with the mark/now a piece of wood she did not speak up.
Unlike most scapegoats that don't choose to become one by taking the blame or being forced to be sacrificed or become a victim. Tessie can be considered a willful scapegoat because she accepts the position Theoretically by participating in the ritual where her odds of becoming the one sacrificed for the good of the town, and to ensure bountiful crops as explained by old man 'Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon is possible in part because of her. When she participated in past lotteries she could have spoke up, which possibly could have prevented this years lottery. She had a chance in the story to avoid her fate, before we are aware that Tessie becomes the scapegoat we observe examples of where she is looking forward to the lottery and is willing to accept there is nothing wrong with the Lottery, and participating in the lottery. We are first shown that Tessie is looking forward to the lottery is " Mrs. Hutchinson came hurriedly along the path to the square..." (Jackson 1239) Here she had a chance to avoid the lottery, as well as what later becomes her fate. She sees nothing wrong with the lottery and even encourages her husband when his name is called "Get up there, Bill," Mrs. Hutchinson said" (Jackson 1231)
When Tessie realizes she is more likely to become the soon to be stoned individual she begins to suffer mentally even before she suffers physically
"You didn't give him enough time" "There's Don and Eva," Mrs. Hutchinson yelled. "Make them take their chances!" (Shirley Jackson 1241) Here we are shown where Tessie starts to make excuses to escape her fate. Trying to avoid her fate by blaming others and hoping to better her chances by passing her fate onto others even her own kids are not off limits if it means she may live.
"I think we ought to start over", Mrs. Hutchinson said as quietly as she could." (Jackson 1242) she is trying to get the others in the crowd to speak up in agreement with her, in hopes of avoiding her fate.
"I tell you it wasn't fair. You didn't give him time enough to choose. Everybody saw that."(Jackson 1242) Here again, she is giving the crowd an opportunity to speak up for her in hopes she can convince them she knows what they are thinking. "listen, everybody," Mrs. Hutchinson was saying to the people around her. She hesitated for a minute, looking around defiantly and then set her lips and went up to the box. She snatched a paper out and held it behind her." (Jackson 1242) Still she tries to convince the crowd to think her way and tries to defy the rules until she sees that is not going to save her from her fate. Even then she still tries to hide that she is the scapegoat. "Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand." (Jackson 1243) Even her own husband does not try to help his wife from avoiding her fate "Tessie Hutchinson was in the center 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..." (Jackson 1243) she is begging for mercy from the villagers. "It isn't fair, it isn't right" Mrs. Hutchinson screamed..." (Jackson 1243) When all else has failed she now tries to convince the villagers that the lottery is wrong.
Tessie is part of an ongoing system that continues even after her presumed death much like the persecution that continues in our real world.
The Archetype of the scapegoat has been around before Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) life, after Shirley Jackson's life (1919-1965) and continues today this is why we must learn from Martin Niemöller's poem, the character Tessie from in Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" that we as a people need to stand up, speak up for others as when we do it maybe be in the end ourselves that we have prevented from becoming a scapegoat.
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