Comparing The Lottery and Hills Like White Elephants

Last Updated: 20 Jun 2022
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“The Lottery” written by Shirley Jackson is a story based off of its point of view, the story would not be told or understood in the same way if it was written in a different point of view. This story keeps the interest of it's readers because it has a point of view where only the people in the story know whats going to happen and know more information than the readers do. If this story was written in first person the readers would know what the lottery was from the beginning of the story and that would make the story not have the surprise ending that confuses the audience.

“Hills Like White Elephants” written by Ernest Hemingway is also written in third person point of view. This story is written in a different way then “The Lottery” is written because in “The Lottery” everyone knows whats going on besides the audience, and in “Hills Like White Elephants” only the two main characters know what is going on and what the main conversation contains. Another main difference in these two stories is that Jackson tricks her audience and Hemingway never even demonstrated the reason for the conflict in the story.

Although both stories are related by using the same point of view they are completely different with the plot and the amount of information they with hold from their audience. Both authors use third person in their own ways and it makes different but related effects to the ending of the stories. One of the effects that are different in each story are the amount of people who know whats going on and what the conflict is. Also, the ending of each story, there is a main effect on the point of view factor. Hemingway does not resolve the conflict that the characters in the story know but the audience does not know. Jackson on the other hand reveals to his audience the conflict and the information he has been with holding from the beginning of the story.

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The point of view in the stories has a dramatic effect on how they are interpreted from the audience, and what information is known by the audience in any point of the story. If either of these stories were written in first person point of view the entire plot and conflict of the story would change and the audience would have a different outlook on the overall story. In “The Lottery”, if the audience would have known it was a negative lottery it would have changed the effect the ending had on the audience. However, “Hills Like White Elephants”, would have more of an effect on the audience if it was written in first person point of view. This way the audience would be able to know the main conflict the couple is arguing about throughout the entire story, but the conclusion of the story would change the effect on the readers.

Although both stories are wrote in the same point of view, each author interrupts their own personal effects to the stories in which they wrote. Jackson gives her audience clues and hints about the ending, such as the boys piling rocks in the corner of the room, that could be the first signs that the lottery was not what the audience expected it to be. Hemingway however does not take the same approach that Jackson did and did not give his readers clues in the actual text about the information that is being with held from them.

The titles of these two stories differ as well, “The Lottery” is a basic title for the overall story plot, but “Hills Like White Elephants” is a more complicated title that does not give a general over view of the story. The title is supposed to indicate important information about the story, and Hemingway took the third person point of view in the actual text and keep the conflict from his audience but he gave his audience some information in the title. When he used this phrase as his title, he opened his reader's mind to interpret many different ideas and conclusions about this conflict in which they are with held from knowing.

“The Lottery” and “Hills Like White Elephants” are both written in third person but Jackson and Hemingway took this point of view and put their own personal effects into it. Jackson includes clues through out the text that about the actual lottery. Hemingway interprets his clues to the audience through the title of the story. These two stories are similar in the point of view but they differ in how the authors applied what the audience should and should not know through clues in the text and title.

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Comparing The Lottery and Hills Like White Elephants. (2017, Mar 30). Retrieved from

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