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Features of Fiction Short Story and the Link with Fantasy

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While fantasy can be considered a sub-category of fictional literature, the underlying unifying principle of quality literature is its ability to focus, whether in this world or a completely imagined one, on fundamental and timeless human concerns. By freeing itself of fact, proof and even dimension, fiction can often illustrate truths better than fact and to a much greater degree as the reader is forced to ‘live through’ the lived actions and consequences of a given circumstance. Because choices are based upon a familiar theme, such as love, kindness or what it means to be human, they transcend time, space and, on occasion, the need for scientific reality. The capacity to reveal human nature within fiction is especially true when demonstrating various ways of life, or aspects of social culture. Quality fiction, regardless of when it was written or the length of the written text, can reveal significant aspects of human nature and thus reveal us to ourselves as we identify various elements of the story with our everyday lives. Literature such as “The Lottery” and “Bartleby, the Scrivener” remind us that there are elements within society that tend to dehumanize us while other stories such as “Sonny’s Blues” begin to introduce the solution to this effect, a relationship that will be examined in the following discussion.
In Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” the story illustrates how people can get so completely caught up in following the customs and practices of their culture that they lose the meaning of the action. The history provided of the lottery within the story is sketchy at best as people begin gathering around a black box and organizing in a strict patriarchal hierarchy. The discussion of the lost original paraphernalia emphasizes the degree to which much of the original history has also been lost: “At one time, some people remembered, there had been a recital of some sort, performed by the official of the lottery. a perfunctory, tuneless chant that had been rattled off duly each year … but years and years ago this part of the&nbsp.ritual had been allowed to lapse” (119).