I just read “The Lottery” for the first time in over 30 years. As with most things from my youth, it was a lot better in my youth.
And like most things as an adult, it gave me a great essay topic. But before we get to the great essay topic, here’s my review of “The Lottery”:
It’s like a really boring (but short) version of The Hunger Games.
All is not lost: I’ve made Mr. Summers (a summary of “The Lottery” with a lesson plan or two at this link will clue you in on Mr. Summers) the game master of my “Which Literary Character Would Win a Hunger Games Fight to the Death?” analysis.
The aforementioned question, by the way is my great essay topic.
Here are the rules.
Read The Hunger Games and find out.
Here are the contestants with analysis and odds on winning.
Mr. Summers as Game Master. We’ve already mentioned him. Nobody’s really sure how he got all this power, but it seems probable that he’ll be eating poisoned berries in the presidential suite if he doesn’t have anything more technologically advanced than a beat up black box or weapons more effective than a pile of stones.
Lennie Smalls. There is a significant amount of social commentary in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, nothing more significant than the Universal truth: Don’t mess with Lennie! The rules of life, however, don’t always apply to The Hunger Games. In short, Lennie has absolutely no chance of winning. He’s way too stupid. If he doesn’t get immediately killed at the cornucopia as the games begin, he would likely be picked up as an ally. Lennie’s ally would eventually turn on Lennie by greeting him with a bullet in the back of the head.
Harry Potter. The temptation is to put Potter down in the favored section. After all, he defeated Voldemort twice, in addition to defeating an obelisk, troll, 3-headed dog, Gringots goblins, ginormous spiders, and a myriad of magical creatures. But he did it with a wand. His only chance of winning The Hunger Games is if there’s a magical wand in the cornucopia. And even if there is a magical wand in the cornucopia, there’s no way that lightning-scarred waif is getting anywhere near it.
Frances Macomber. There’s no doubt Macomber will be overlooked, giving him a minuscule chance of winning. Chances are he’ll get blasted in the head by a third party as he eliminates a charging opponent with sharp-shooting and courage heretofore unseen.
Hester Prynne. She’ll definitely be marked from the beginning of this thing and would have a realistic chance of gaining the admiration of her competitors. Unfortunately, she had an illegitimate child with Summers, who doesn’t want the secret to get out. Summers will make sure she’s killed by a game “malfunction” disguised as witchcraft.
Montresor. Montresor burst onto the Hunger Games scene after his brilliance in humiliating and murdering Fortunato in “The Cask of Amontillado.” That being said, he has no chance of winning. He’s primarily motivated by revenge and would focus his efforts on killing President Snow and Mr. Summers instead of concentrating on his opponents. There’s also a short supply of brick and mortar in the arena. Throw in the fact that nobody’s stupid enough to accompany another contestant into an underground vault while getting drunk, and it’s obvious he has slim to no chance. His .00000000000001% chance is that he takes a long time to kill people, so as he’s luring his one stupid victim to his death, the remaining contestants will be killing each other, leaving Montresor and only one other contestant.Sergeant Major Morris. The sergeant major would definitely be the mystery contestant in the bloodbath free-for-all. His adventures overseas definitely prove he’s got the mettle to survive difficult situations. Unfortunately, his primary strategy of leaving individuals a cursed monkey’s paw probably wouldn’t keep him around very long in the arena. Even if there were a cursed monkey’s paw around the cornucopia, who’s going to pick it up? Nobody. Unless he teams up with a fakir, he’s doomed.
Harrison Bergeron. The ruling has just come down that Harrison Bergeron will not have to wear his handicaps while competing in this year’s Hunger Games, making him one of the favorites–if he weren’t so antagonistic toward the government. President Snow will not letanother rebellious citizen win. He’ll make sure Summers gets the message. He’ll probably align with a graceful female competitor and make her queen before dying a gruesome death.
Frodo Baggins. He’ll be underestimated because he’s a hobbit, allowing him to move along unnoticed for a good deal of time, but unless there’s a ring that turns him invisible when he’s in trouble, there’s no way he’s taking the Hunger Games crown. His slim hopes rest on Gandolf’s ability to send items to him during the competition.
Romeo. Romeo has gone down in history as a lover, but let us not forget this loverboy can wield a sword with the noblest of Verona. His odds of winning the Hunger Games, however, are slim. He’s too impulsive and would likely get killed in the cornucopia doing something rash and hurried. I also doubt there’ll be many swords lying about, which is his preferred method of fighting. And even if there are swords, a sword can’t beat back an axe flying at his head. And even if he does survive the cornucopia, he’s likely to fall in love with one of the female participants, who will undoubtedly double cross him as he descends from the balcony he constructs in a tree.
Ulrich Van Gradwitz. He lost a coin flip with Georg Znayem and got the nod from the Carpathian District. Ulrich’s hunting skills will come in handy in the games, giving him a modest chance of winning. He’s got to overcome a few things, though. First, he can’t hesitate to shoot his enemy as he did when he encountered Znayem in the forest. Second, he’s got a thing for lightning hitting trees and falling on him. Third, wolves.Sanger Rainsford. After General Zaroff is eaten by his dogs, the only eligible contestant from Ship-Trap island is world-renowned hunter Sanger Rainsford. Rainsford has to be considered one of the favorites, considering he defeated a rifled and dogged Zaroff with a switch blade and his wits. He’s also experienced in hunting and being hunted by humans, giving him an experience advantage. Unlike “The Most Dangerous Game,” Rainsford would not be allowed to leave the arena at any point to save himself. Although the Malay Man Catcher would get a few unsuspecting participants–let us also mention the Burmese Tiger Pit he constructed on a moment’s notice–his opponents this time around won’t be suffering from overconfidence and boredom as General Zaroff was. That being said, I’m putting Rainsford as one of the favorites to bring the Hunger Games trophy back to Ship-Trap Island. Of course, he already lives in a mansion, so perhaps he’s not as motivated as the other participants.
Sherlock Holmes. You better have your wits about you if Holmes is in the arena. Not only is he a master of Kung fu and able to survive thousand-foot plummets into a raging waterfall, you can’t sneak up on him. He’s got to be one of the contenders.
Katniss Everdeen. I guess she has a place in the arena, being the protagonist of the novel that inspired this brilliant post. She definitely holds a distinct advantage, having survived it twice. Unfortunately for her, she’s never faced this rigorous of competition. And if you think Summers is going to take it easy on her and not have her gunned down at some point, you haven’t been paying attention. I gotta feeling she’ll engage in a good deal of slaughter (see Romeo) before all is said and done.Odysseus. Here’s another primary contender. He’s got wits and strength and courage. He’s skilled at avoiding traps, deceiving entire armies, and getting out of tight spots. In order to survive, he needs to understand that not everyone is stupid enough to drag in a gigantic horse full of soldiers into a city. In fact, there’s about a .00001% chance that a wooden horse will be placed in the cornucopia and an even lesser chance that any contestant would fall for it. Oh, and nobody’s going to fall for that nobody trick he pulled on Polyphemus. Oh, and there’ll be no one-eyed contestants. He’ll need to poke out two per opponent. If not for his pride, he’d be the favorite to win the whole thing, but there’s a good chance he’ll overestimate his abilities and take a couple dozen tracker-jacker stingers in the behind. By the way, his sense of direction is terrible.
Ender Wiggin. Ender Wiggin is the odds on favorite and my prediction to win the Hunger Games of literary characters. He’s only one obvious disadvantage: He’s small. That didn’t exactly hinder him at Battle School. He would not be the first super genius to win the games. That one scientific dude electrocuted a bunch of people to win. Ender Wiggin is no stranger to mass murder. He did, after all, annihilate an entire race of aliens. He’s also skilled at hand-to-hand combat, killing a bigger Stilson and Bonzo. And let’s not forget Bernard’s broken arm and the dude with the bruised testicle in Null Room G. He anticipates all moves. He never loses. And if Peeta can win, whose only skill was cake decorating, then apparently you don’t need a whole lot of strength. And don’t give me Ender’s suicidal nature as a mark against him. Whereas some use their suicidalness to kill themselves (Romeo), Ender uses it to kill others. Oh, and let’s not forget what he does to those wolves in the mind game. Those silly wolves Summers would come up with are nothing compared to them.