English 101 Review Paper on Imagine There’s No Heaven


Religion is among the greatest doctrines that bind people in the society. It means that religion has the potential to create social associations. When people of one faith come together to share their belief in a supreme being, it is an indication that the society is united and derives power from its belief. Undoubtedly, the power that the society possesses provides it with sacred significance. Nonetheless, regardless of the fact that religion depicts power in the society, there is no religion which is be powerful than the other technically, although some individuals perceive their religions as superior to others. In essence, each is unique based on its cultural and historical framework. It is for this purpose that several religious groups have managed to and respect each other’s standards and beliefs, even if they do not believe in them. Currently, the most common religious groups in the world include: Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. Each of these religious groups has followers who share faith that unites them.

However, religion is above an individual because it is more of a social group, which comprises of people who think the same in regards to their belief. It means that the role of religion is to communicate ideas to the people enabling them to acquire permanent thoughts about issues to do with the supernatural being that unites them. 

. In one way or another, it has enabled people to embrace reality because of its ability to furnish and mould the minds of people, regarding aspects such as belief in a supreme, being making it possible for them to think of them. Additionally, people are who they are because of the society, which makes up religion. Religious rituals such as baptism helps in building a society that is refined because of the belief in the role that the ritual plays in people’s lives. 

On the other hand, Christianity imposes self-discipline among people leading to unity in the society. Religious ceremonies also have the power to bring people together which reaffirms their bonds that reinforce social solidarity. Because religion serves to counteract the frustrations and feelings of individuals, it enables them to reestablish their well-being thus leading to a better life. Consequently, a sense of rightness is developed making the society a moral place. In the case of loss, such as death, religion plays a significant role in helping the individuals involved to reestablish their balance both in the public and private sectors. Hence, amidst the chaos in the world, religion grants meaning to humans through a sphere of inspirational values.

Relationship as perceived in the books

“The Lottery” is a story published in The New Yorker in 1948 and authored by Shirley Jackson. The plot of the story depicts the aspects of relationship that makes it appropriate for study. “The Lottery” was like a religion which united people. At the beginning of the story, the readers are informed of a gathering that is about to take place in the New England village; the traditional annual lottery gathering which is held every June 27.  The gathering is a festive that the people of New England village celebrate yearly. Essentially, Jackson depicts “The Lottery” as a tool that has the potential to unify people thus reaffirming the importance of social bonds and solidarity in relationships. When Tessie Hutchinson seemed to be less concerned regarding the festive and claiming that it is unfair, her family members do everything possible to draw her close to the Lottery. from the actions of her family, it can be deduced that the society values relationships to the point that in case someone decides to take a divergent path that is perceived to be erroneous, the members takes it upon themselves to ensure their “wellbeing.” Relationships also counteract the frustrations and feelings of an individual in the society in that they tend to build peace or develop homes.  However, in the last chapters of the book “The Lottery,” the character Hutchinson reveals the reasons behind her dislike for the lottery making the readers to adopt a new understanding of relationship levels in the society. Indeed, the ceremony that the society seems to praise and celebrate on a yearly basis has the potential to harm them.

According to Hutchinson, the “winner” of the lottery is not celebrated but stoned to death by the society members (Jackson 369). It makes an individual to question the type of relationship that this society has developed when they celebrate a game that is a threat to human life. The crowds cheer as they watch people being stonned and feel excruciating pain i. Furthermore, the narrator of the story mentions that after the lottery, the women go back to their homes and cook dinner while the men go about their daily duties like planting trees and harvesting fruits.. Indeed, regarding the ceremony, the people do not seem to worry about inflicting pain, instead they revere the action It seems that the author of the book understands the cultural framework of this society thus adheres to its beliefs rather than condemning them in the book. Respect to social groups beliefs and standards are one of the ways in which strong relationships are built in a community.

Based on the assertions of the author these villagers conduct the “Lottery” celebration as a norm to keep the community’s unity but fear its consequences (Jackson 372). The author mentions that before the lottery begins, majority of the villagers stay away from the black box which is a sign that negative consequences befall anyone who tries to come too closer to the stool. Moreover, it depicts the presence of an undercurrent tension among the community members regarding the ceremony but they have to participate in to keep the society united as is the norm. According to Jackson, individuals are not requires to look upset regardless of the fact that the ceremony results in death. The only concern of the people of this village is to preserve their culture and tradition of stoning people to death thus the reason they appear “courageous” and “happy” during the ceremony. One thing that is clear from the story is that some communities consider tradition as a social need that preserves relationships in one way.

Salmon Rushdie’s story titled “Imagine There’s No Heaven” perfectly describes the case in Jackson’s story. There is “no heaven” for any individual who wins the lottery rather all that awaits them is hell, which is ironic considering it’s the title of the story. Unlike the community members in Jackson’s story, in Rushdie’s story, the society members struggle with the complex = laws that have been set to regulate their lives. It can be viewed as a perfect example of a real life scenario whereby relationships are built on peaceful co-existence rather than unnatural and unethical acts like massacres. The letter which Rushdie has written is meant for the six billionth person on earth and in it she possesses the critical question of how they got there and how they will live (Rushdie 501). In a normal society, the main question that the community members address regards the how they ended up in some mess rather than celebrating the mess, like in Jackson’s story. The society cannot celebrate overpopulation especially because of the negative impacts that it has on the people. Overpopulation results in scarcity of resources which is hazardous to human health. It, therefore, perfectly matches the concepts of having no heaven since the result will be scramble for survival because of limited goods and resources.

In the letter, Rushdie depicts the doctrines of religion that tends to regulate the lives of people as they define the how they are expected to behave. Religions require that the society members adhere to their rituals of worship, which is a concept that Jackson tried to depict in her story but in a more evil way. Respect of rituals and culture is one way in which community relationships are enhanced (Rushdie 504). Culture requires that everyone in the community takes part in specific activities to form some kind of identity. Anyone who does not conform to the cultural expectations is considered a traitor and may be punished thus the reason, in Jackson’s story, Hutchinson is encouraged to be part of the Summer celebrations regardless of  the fact that she felt that their rules were unfair. Jackson’s story is a true depiction of human history whereby relationships in the society were built through public oppression.

However, Rushdie has shown the importance of religion in bringing comfort and peace in the society. Religion plays the important role of compensating people for the good they do and ounishing evil deeds based on societal standards to regulate behaviors among society members (Rushdie 503). The other difference between the two stories is that the wrong committed by the community in Jackson’s story does not conform to sacred tales of celebration but blind faith and rituals unlike Rushdie’s. in the latter’s story, the zeal of the society to find out source of the problem is important for rooting out blind faith, which ensures that everything in the society is well. The relationship between man and the society should not be based on rituals or culture alone but the soundness of the practices which define the ways in which people live and interacts with one another.

In conclusion, both Jackson and Rushdie have brought out different concepts of relationships in their stories. Undoubtedly, the concepts can be used to evaluate the impacts of culture and rituals in the lives of people. However, amidst the craziness of the daily occurrence in the society, one thing that stands out is that religion is a moderator of the diverse cultures that tend to divide the society.  Religion helps in creating strong relationships as depicted by Rushdie in his story. On the other hand, culture and rituals, though binding, are not good determinants of strong relationships, especially when evil is involved.

Work Cited

Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” The New Yorker, 1948,

Rushdie,Salmon. “Imagine There’s No Heaven.” The Guardian, 1948