The Lottery

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Personal Essay – The Lottery
It is an untold truth that each person would experience certain agony and pain exuded from the relationships one withholds. Though, to a certain extent, such afflictions are influenced by how one is taught as they struggle through the difficult puzzle of life. Unless one is taught to contain the virtues of kindness or compassion, it is likely for the person to be corrupt and inconsiderate. The earlier values are instilled into a person, the greater the chance those values would take hold of their minds. Thus, those values would produce a strong base for how they choose to make decisions. As such, in Shirley Jackson’s allegory, The Lottery, children have come to acknowledge an inhumane tradition: one that selects a random individual to be stoned to death. The process involves the head of each family to draw a lot, and the one marked requires the whole family to draw a second set of lots. Then, an individual of that family chooses the marked lot. The person, who selects the marked paper, dies. The mandatory tradition has been carried out for decades, indicated by an individual who possesses the fortune to never be selected as the victim for their entire life. Tessie Hutchinson is a mother who was chosen to be the target of this year’s Lottery, only realizing the atrocities their village has committed when she is finally placed as the victim. The Lottery shares its values with abusive households and exposure to early violence. Through them, human nature, without compassion, is easily corruptible.

Cycles are born from the outcomes of teaching children moral beliefs and values, and with children in abusive households, they are not taught proper compassion. It is more likely for them to be taught hatred and fear, both feelings that are led to obedience. Rather, children who are raised in abusive households gain their sense of compassion from kinder sirs and madams who have interacted with them. My own great grandparents and numerous others from previous generations beat their children into submission if they did not do as they were told, except that they learned the values of kindness and compassion, breaking the cycle of beatings. Descriptions of the beatings were often long and painful, executed in such a way that the children would never dare attempt to disobey their parents again. My own parents were also physically punished if they failed to succeed in school, though not as harshly as my grandparents were. Several of my sibling’s friends were also abused as a child, though rarely because of the changing times. It was a cycle, one that was slow to end. Yet, even though if the previous generations knew it was wrong to beat children, they did it anyways - simply because that was how they were taught. An external source must either force or tell the individual that it is wrong to physically abuse children before it ends.

The cycle continues to exist in the children of The Lottery, and an external force has yet to break them out of the cruelty they endure. It may be seen being encouraged instead through the victim’s child. Davy is the son of Tessie Hutchinson, the mother who was unfortunately chosen to be the victim of The Lottery. Prior to Tessie’s execution, the children had gathered numerous stones in preparation for the event. Their society has taught them to accept the death of the individual chosen to be stoned. Pebbles were given to Davy before the children began to massacre Tessie, encouraging him to stone his own mother. The youths of this village only do this because this was how they were taught in the tradition, even if some may understand it is morally wrong. Abusive households are similar because this is also how the owners had learned in their youth, therefore they continue it.

In addition to the cycle of abusive households, the exposure to violence at a young age also plays a major role in the influence for corruption. Though violence is not often seen through our own eyes, the...
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