ABSTRACT

The relationship between narrative dissonance within the consonance of time and the simultaneous collapse of temporal chronology has been widely explored in classical theories of narratology. However, these perspectives have not adequately addressed how texts that destabilize these aspects respond to their historical and legal contexts, particularly as they engage with the symbolic significance of ritualistic practices. In “The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson's use of ritual allows literary representations of contemporaneousness to comment on the value of legal renderings in crimes of international magnitude. Specifically, the simultaneous circulation of past, present, and future comments upon the legal function of rites in the context of the cultural accounts surrounding the 1945–1946 Nuremberg Trials. Viewing the popular perception of the event as a legal ritualization of past severe crimes with the purpose of projecting humanity's response to atrocities reveals how 1940s postwar literary accounts use ceremony to question the value of international legal prosecutions by challenging the boundaries between eras.

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