The short stories ” The Rocking-Horse Winner”, “The Lottery”, and “War”, all focus on sadness that results when children lose their innocence pre-maturely. In the short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, the residents in a small farming village gather each year in the center of town for an annual lottery. In what seems to be a peaceful community, the village is actually filled with corruption and twisted rituals. The community takes part in an annual ritual where one unlucky person is sacrificed in order to guarantee good crops.
The winner is chosen by a ballot, and in an ironic twist, the winner becomes the loser. The villagers, even family members, show no resistance in killing friends or family. The townsfolk, including her family members, stone Mrs. Hutchinson to death. Children are given stones and encouraged to throw them at Tessie, not truly understanding what is happening, they gladly cast the stones. These children are exposed to death and murder at such a young age; it will corrupt their minds and influence the way they think throughout the rest of their lives.
They are brought up to fear death, while they should be afraid of monsters and the dentist. In the short story “War” by Timothy Findley, a Father enlists in the army and leaves his family to do what is best for his country. The youngest child in the story feels he is being abandoned and feels violated. His Father will be absent for some time, and most likely will never return home. (name) is forced to grow up faster than he ever should, with no Father in the house, the mother will leave to work and (name) and his brother will be on their own. (name) must now do jobs around the house and
Money is required to do practically anything, as a result; more money means an easier life. The more money one has, the more money one craves. In the short story “The Rocking-Horse winner” by David Herbert Lawrence, a high-class family struggles to maintain their status in society. The mother, being completely selfish and greedy, unwillingly turns her son, Paul, into a money-driven child. Lacking a father figure, and having a mother that pays little to no attention to him, Paul must grow up on his own and begins to focus on gambling, and more importantly money.
Trying to do what is best for his family, Paul begins to gamble, and eventually becoming completely obsessed with it “I couldn”t possibly go before the Derby, Mother! ” he said, “I couldn”t possibly! ” (pg 30) Gambling and greed begin to consume Paul, and ultimately they condemn him to an extremely early grave. Trying to do whats best for his family, Paul starts to focus on things that a child should not even be aware of. Paul thinks he has won his mothers love, giving her five thousand pounds, but she ends up more; the more she has, the more she wants.
Ultimately Paul Paul gives his mother five thousand pounds, whereas a ()- year old usually is happy with $1. 00. Paul learns about mortgages, and In a loveless family. we absorb experiences and react to our environment like litmus paper. “War” is remarkable for its insights into both the thoughts and linguistic expression of a twelve-year-old boy who is looking back on events that happened when he was ten years old, specifically to his discovery that his father was going to war.
As students explore the boy’s reaction to this devastating news – a reaction that escalates into another kind of “war” between father and son – they are able to appreciate Findley’s use of shifting and maturing perspective (not unlike Dylan Thomas’s “Fern Hill”) as the boy begins to understand his own feelings and his own capacity for violence. Combined with that insight, students will also investigate Findley’s use of first-person point of view, vocabulary, expressions, and syntax to relate the events of the story through the “voice” of a young boy at two different ages of his life.
Students then may be encouraged to use their own childhood memories and experiences from their own more mature perspectives as a basis for their own stories or personal essays. Students might also be encouraged to read two of Findley’s novels about war and young people: his Governor-General’s Award winner, The Wars (1977), and his lesser known 1996 short novel, You Went Away, which takes place on the home front in 1942 and involves an eleven-year-old boy. Great reading for extending student perspectives on war and how it personally affects people!