Political Power: A Literary Analysis

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Political power gives governments the ability to control the behavior of people. There are several different types of government and the amount of power they possess depends upon the type of regime it is. Examples of how different types of government control its population can be found in literature ranging from fiction pieces that are meant to warn people to nonfiction analytical articles. Three piece of literature that demonstrates the use of power are “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr, and “”Walking Dead” and the real Zombie America ” by Russ Castronovo. For a government to remain powerful it must maintain legitimacy and this can be done through tradition, history, and results. Tradition gives the …show more content…
This feeling of historical pride is what makes people want to obey their government’s rules and law. In “The Lottery” the event the people were proud of was the lottery itself. Again, no one knew why they were holding a lottery or its purpose, but this had no bearing on the pleasure everyone got from having it. This ritual was ingrained in everyone from childhood so by the time they were adults they would obey the rules of the lottery without question. This is seemingly jovial event where the children were assemble first and then were allowed to play. While the children were playing they “made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys”, which seems like harmless fun, but these stones would be used to murder the winner of the lottery (Jackson, 1). In “Harrison Bergeron” the history that made everyone equal was “due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General”, this equality is what drove the sense of pride that allowed the government to stay in power (Vonnegut, 1). Prior to the year this story takes place the citizens demanded that everyone be equal in all aspects of life. The only individuals who were not given a handicap were those governing the rules and laws. This allowed them to not only retain …show more content…
In “The Lottery”, Old Man Warner can be seen as a symbol of the lottery’s success because he has survived the lottery seventy seven times. He attributes the lottery ritual to the reason they are able to thrive as a society. When he hears that a village north of them is considering discontinuing the lottery he states, "Listening to the young folks, nothing 's good enough for them. Next thing you know, they 'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live that way for a while. Used to be a saying about 'Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon '”, he goes on to add that there “always has been a lottery” (Jackson, 4). The overall equality that has been attained for everyone in the story “Harrison Bergeron” is what gave the government the most power. The people wanted equality so the people got equality. Individuals who had above average intelligence were required to have a small radio in their ear, and every twenty seconds a sharp noise would be transmitted to disrupt them from having any thoughts or ideas that could give them an advantage (Vonnegut, 1). People who were more attractive than others had to wear masks, those who were stronger or faster than others had to wear canvas bags filled with birdshot to weigh them down. Harrison, however, was still able to overcome his government mandated handicaps which made

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