Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"The Dummy"

"The Dummy"
from The Lottery and Other Stories, by Shirley Jackson

I kind of expected it to be revealed at the end that the dummy could move and speak on its own.  What really happened surprised me into laughter-- and then I wondered if I'd seen it done before. 

Ventriloquists' dummies are such common fodder for horror and creepy tales.  I wonder how long that's been the case.  Was there ever a time when it was unusual to see a story about a creepy dummy?   Like clowns.  Evidently they were popular in the 50s and 60s, but at some point it became more usual for people to admit to a dislike or even fear of them.  These days, I'd suppose that clowns are used much less often for children's toys, room decor, party entertainment, etc.  (For the record, I'm not particularly fond of clowns or dummies-- and would never ever dream of using either to decorate a child's room.  As a girl, I did have porcelain dolls, though, which some people find creepy.  Any inanimate object with eyes can take on a certain creepiness, if you stare at it long enough.) 

One last note:
Too bad that the girl with the ventriloquist seems to be willing to put up with that kind of treatment.  Another powerless character refusing to make necessary changes.