Carmen Nonon Ms. Judith King English 111 8 April 2009 The Similarities and Differences Between “The Lottery” and “Dead Man’s Path” In the two short stories ”The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and “Dead Men’s Path” by Chinua Achebe, tradition plays a part. In “The Lottery”, the villagers gather together once a year and meet in the square for a drawing to determine that year’s sacrifice. In “Dead Men’s Path” the story is about a pathway to a burial site that passes through the school grounds, which was closed off by Mr.
Obi, the headmaster of the school who had a different religious belief than the villagers. “The Lottery” and “Dead Man’s Path” have a similarity in that they both have death in them. In “The lottery”, the idea is that the head of every family picks a piece of paper from the black box. If the piece of paper has a black dot on it, a member of the family is stoned to death.
In “Dead Men’s Path”, the people of the village say that their dead relatives depart by the path and their ancestors visit them. It is also the path of children coming in to be born.
So the people in the village believe that a village woman, who died two days after giving birth to her child, died because Mr. Obi blocked the burial pathway. The common theme of control is reflected in both of the stories.
In “Dead Men’s Path” Mr. Obi blocks the path from the villagers to take control over them passing through the school compound, so that they wouldn’t destroy the beautiful garden with its hibiscus and allamanda hedges. In “The Lottery” Mr. Summer was a powerful, wealthy man who controlled and put all his energy to the activities in the town such as square dances and the Halloween programs. The Lottery” and “Dead Man’s Path” have a major contrast in that a different belief system is what leads to death. In “The Lottery” the villagers believed that all had been well when the village was tiny and by performing the ritual of sacrificing a villager they would have control over the population from growing. In “Dead Men’s Path” the villagers strongly believed that by blocking the pathway something bad would happen. Another difference between the stories is that “The Lottery” is a reality for the characters; whereas, in “Dead Men’s Path” there are spiritual forces. In “The Lottery” villagers turn to Mrs.
Hutchinson and physically stone her to death, and in Dead Men’s Path the woman died from natural childbirth, due to a superstition, which is a belief and not a physical act. There are characters in both stories who sought to modernize their villagers. In “The Lottery” Mr. Adams questions the Lottery and says to Old Man Warner that other villagers are thinking about giving up the lottery and to practice the modern methods. Old Man Warner makes a remark and says “Pack of crazy fools,” and then tries to explain the importance of the ritual to survival of the village. In “Dead Men’s Path”, the village priest of Ani called Mr.
Obi to discuss the closing of path and explain that the life of the villagers depend on it. That there dead relative departs by it, and their ancestors visit through the path. Mr. Obi listened with a closed mind and refused to listen to the priest and refused to open the path, but when a white supervisor came to inspect the school he wrote a nasty report, therefore changing the past and making new traditions. The differences in “The Lottery” is that Mr. Adams spoke his opinion to one individual instead of meeting with the villagers and discuss why they don’t stop the practice of the lottery.
The difference in Dead Men’s Path is the initial approach taken by the priest and the villagers was successful. Because that they tried to close it unsuccessfully, it is assumed that the other attempts were unsuccessful. While both stories have similarities, they also have differences. They can both be compared when looking at the themes of death and control. However, both stores are very different. The belief system of each story and the reality vs. spiritual tendencies are ways the stories are different.