Essay on Compare and Contrast of The Lottery and The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street written by the Sandra Cisneros is an interesting novel which develops the theme of human identity. The main character of the novel is a twelve years old Esperanza who lives in the house on Mango Street but she is unhappy. She dreams of another house where her life will be absolutely different. The author shows the growing-up process of this girl and her character formation. (Mesic, 1984)

The Lottery written by Shirley Jackson is a short story which tells about the brutal traditions of the society where a human life is worth nothing. The lottery which is held regularly in a small village of 300 inhabitants is an action of the incredible human brutality regarding the person who has got the black spot. He will be stoned to death by all the participants of this action as a sacrifice. (Lenthem, 2007)

My goal in this essay is to compare an contrast the above mentioned literary works by means of some important points which present in both books.
Family Oriented Themes

In the novel The House on Mango Street Esperanza moves from street to street with her family. She is dreaming of a good place to live. The house on Mango Street is too small and cramped. Family relations are on the first place in the novel. The author shows Esperanza’s family- her father who is a kind person and who tries to do everything possible to feed his family working all days long; her mother, an intelligent woman who knows two languages but could not finished high school; her brothers and a sister.

In the short story The Lottery the villagers gather as a family for the lottery. Moreover, the lottery acts as a destructive element of the family bonds. (Berger, 2006)
Sacrifice as the Main Element in the Literary Works

Sacrifice can be found in both literary works. In The House on Mango Street Esperanza and her family sacrifice their dream home. They cannot leave their house. (Cisneros, 1989)
In The Lottery the villagers sacrifice their own lives and cannot change this old brutal tradition in their village.
Involvement of Children in the Literary Works

Children play an important role in both literary works. In The Lottery children are used to gather the stones as a part of sacrifice. They know that these stones will kill one of their parents but they do not protest it. In The House on Mango Street the life story of the young girl Esperanza is on the first place.
Life Struggles of the Main Characters

Life struggles is shown in both literary works. In the first one the villagers struggle with having the chance to draw the black dot which means to be stoned to death by everybody around. In the second novel Esperanza struggles with her poor fate to live in Chicago neighborhood. She wants to change her life and to leave this place.
Main Characters

Esperanza is a girl of twelve who has a strong character and is ready to change her life but she understands that it is impossible.
Tessie is a weak woman who wants to sacrifice another family member in order to stay alive. She is not a mother if she is ready to allow somebody to kill her daughter.

Time Era

Time era is not the same in these two literary works. The Lottery takes place in 1948 and The House on Mango Street ”“ in 1984.


In conclusion, it is necessary to say that both literary works develop the theme of human values and struggles for better life. However, it is not always possible to change the established rules in the society.

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