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"The Lottery in Babylon" by Jorge Luis Borges
Transcript of "The Lottery in Babylon" by Jorge Luis Borges
by Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) was an internationally renowned Argentinian author
He has written poetry, short fiction, and literary criticism
His work often falls under the category of "fantastical literature," established by Edgar Allen Poe in the 19th century (Perez and Lawreck)
Borges' literature has been described as philosophical, satiric, full of intertextuality, and "post-avant-garde" (Perez and Lawreck)
He is widely considered an intellectual with an erudite writing style
Lottery and Chance
Your reading for this week discussed the interpretation of literary works
Sound interpretations are rhetorically effective, and therefore persuasive to readers
Rhetorically effective interpretations often provide textual evidence, quoting from the work being interpreted
Interpretations are ways of processing meaning, but that meaning could be related to an author's intentions or an audience's understanding
Interpretations are usually (consciously or otherwise) informed by ideologies
Literary criticisms, like the ones you've been reading about in the back of your textbook, provide specific ideologies for cohesive interpretations of literature
Themes and Symbols in "The Lottery in Babylon"
Lottery and chance feature prominently in the story as well. What is Borges saying about these themes? Alternatively, what is your understanding of them within the framework of the story?
What does the Company represent in Borges' short story? Why does he incorporate such an entity?
Instead of looking at other people's interpretations this time, I would like you to write your own interpretation of one of the symbols or themes in Borges' story. Follow the guidelines below to get started:
1. Choose a symbol or theme to interpret, and reexamine the story to form an interpretation
2. Select passages from the text that influence your interpretation and be sure to quote them in your response
3. Check the Discussions tab in our course page for specific instructions about how to create and submit your response
As both the setting and a major symbol with the story, Babylon carries significance. Why then, did Borges select Babylon for his allegory?
How do these and other themes come into play in Borges' story?
Pérez, Alberto Julián, and Virginia Lawreck. "Jorge Luis
Modern Latin-American Fiction Writers: First Series
. Ed. William Luis. Detroit: Gale Research, 1992. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 113.
Literature Resource Center
. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.