Religious groups encourage and enforce conformity of their social norms and
beliefs upon their members. Religious traditions are usually passed on from parent to
child at an early age. In "The Lottery," Shirley Jackson reveals the tradition of the lottery
and how all of the villagers conform to the ritual of a human sacrifice. Growing up with
an exceptionally religious father I can relate to way of thinking of the villagers that
traditions are accepted without questioning.
In "The lottery," the children were stuffing their pockets with stones before all of the
parents had arrived, " Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and
the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones"
( 529). This illustrates that the children were taught what to do in the event of the lottery
and by being prepared it shows that they were keen to please their parents.
My father had always pressured me to follow his religious beliefs and traditions. At
first I was eager to attend his church sermons and Sunday school because it made me fell
like I was pleasing my father and he would reward me with praise and ice creams on the
drive home. But as I got older I started to realize that certain rules and regulations of the
church were unnecessary and some were even ludicrous. For example, at the age of
twelve my father had announced that we would discard our television because the church
thought that a television allows us to watch the evils and sinners of the world, as so did
the movie theatre and the Friday night junior high school dance. Luckily my mother
disagreed with the whole idea and the television remained . Even though my mother had
not been a true believer in the church she had always gone along with my father's
traditions for fear of being a disappointment to the church. But when it was her turn
to suffer and to not be able to watch her favorite soaps she didn't look at the situation in
the same way.
This was the case with Mrs. Hutchinson in "The lottery," she had not seen any crime
in the annual stoning until it had directly affected her, " Tessie Hutchison was in the
center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers
moved in on her. "It isn't fair," she said" (534).
The act of the annual lottery can be seen as a religious sacrificing, such as the
human sacrificing to the Gods in ancient times and also the crucifixion of Jesus
Christ that allowed mankind to be forgiven for their sins. My father's religion
strongly believes in personal salvation. They force their ideals upon others and they
point out the sinful behaviors of society. All of my father's church traditions seem to
allow the members to believe that they are being separated from what they perceive as
In both "The lottery" and my father's religion the theme that I believe that is best
represented is the fear of change. The tradition of the lottery is so firmly established that
no one in the village had ever questioned it. When Mrs. Adams mentions that some
places had ended the lottery, Old man Warner thought that change was not a good
idea, " Some places have already quit lotteries, Mrs. Adams Said. Nothing but trouble
in that , Old man Warner said stoutly. Pack of young fools" ( 532). My father's religion
is also very set in their old ways. The way of life and how people had evolved has
drastically changed over the last century. My father's church still strongly opposes
divorce, premarital engagements, and to some extent they have not fully agreed with the
changing roles of women in society. It is obvious that too much change will put a strain
on individuals and organizations and this is why I believe that both the villagers and my
father's religion have made such a...
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