“The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien and “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson are two stories with dynamic character development and significant transformation of the personality. The two major characters of these writings are Tessie Hutchinson and Tim O’Brien. Both of them change throughout the plot and undergo serious inner metamorphosis.
Tim O’Brien is the narrator and protagonist of “The Things They Carried”. From the beginning of the story, readers see that he is against the war. He persuades himself that the feeling of duty to his motherland and family should be stronger than his personal beliefs. He is young and feels ashamed of his fear of all the war horrors. However, he ends up a middle-aged experienced soldier who tells stories about the Vietnam War. The symbolic title of the book means both material objects and non-material feelings that soldiers carry with them. Some of them carry compasses and maps, and some girlfriend’s pantyhose. Tim O’Brien carried a feeling of guilt from the war that changed all his life. He blamed himself for killing young Vietnamese soldiers (O’Brien 17). War turns a young na?ve soldier who persuades himself to participate in violent actions into a veteran who searches for forgiveness and relief in storytelling.
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Tessie Hutchinson, the protagonist of “The Lottery” differs from other villagers from the very beginning. Unlike other “righteous” women who have gathered for the lottery in advance and keep calm and dignified, Tessie is late for the ritual and looks flustered (Jackson 2). The point that she forgot about the day of the lottery seems weird to the citizens. However, after arrival, she hurries to join the crowd and becomes a participant of the annual procedure. When the Hutchinson family draws the marked paper, she is the only one who cries that the result is unfair. The fact that Tessie puts the almost holy ritual of the lottery that is valued by the whole village under a question depicts her as an independent personality. She is not willing to blindly accept the traditions that are going to ruin her family. Even her husband agrees with the rules of the lottery, he names all the members of his family even though he knows that one of them should die.
Bill Hutchison “forced the slip of paper out of” Tessie’s hand and showed everyone the black mark on in. No one tries to protect a mother of three children and an impeccable wife from stoning to death. Although a few seconds ago she tried to save her family by objecting to the lottery rules, now people put pebbles into the hands of her children. With the screams “it isn’t fair” Tessie Hutchison is killed by fellow villagers in order to stick to the annual tradition of lottery that has no sense (Jackson 7). We do not know whether Tessie would protect other people from stoning if her family was not chosen. Maybe she would silently participate in murder as anyone else in the square. Or maybe she was deliberately killed by Mr. Summers, whose authority and leadership is never questioned by villagers, because of her different point of view.
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In conclusion, character transformation in the two stories is obvious. Tim O’Brien changes to an old veteran who tells stories in order to get rid of his feeling of guilt, shame and all the horrors of the Vietnam War. Tessie Hutchison goes against tradition when her natives are in danger. She was a victim of chance, but no one knows whether she would act as everyone if her family was not chosen. Blindly following the tradition, people forgot the reason but remembered the sacred procedure that cannot be changed.