The Lottery

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One of the Lemmings
Tradition is the backbone of every established country in the world. Family, community, and even country wide traditions are extremely common. Though popular culture may change, traditions always stay the same. Why is tradition followed so closely? Many are for religious or family reasons, but how many traditions are followed blindly? What deems a tradition, or anything the crowd does, as morally acceptable? The themes of each story, Young Goodman Brown and The Lottery, deal with flaws in following the crowd. Young Goodman Brown is a young man who fits his name. He is innocent and believes the community is as harmless as they appear. However his innocence has blinded him to the reality of the dark world. Brown’s family, his wife, and respected members of the community such as Goody Cloyse and Deacon Gookin, have all submitted to the devil. Brown gives in by going to the ceremony, but is permanently scarred and shaken by the experience. He no longer trusts anyone in the community or fully loves his wife again. The beliefs he thought that everyone had were corrupted when he discovered their alliance with the devil. Each of these people followed one another, disregarding their personal morals. This made all the characters seem spineless and unfaithful. This shows Hawthorne’s themes of not all things are as they seem, standing firm in your beliefs, doing what you know to be right and not following the crowd just because of a popular decision. Hawthorne communicates a message of morality and responses to traumatic life events through his themes. He reveals his purpose of the story at the end when he displays Brown as very distraught and skeptical of everyone he knows. Brown is shocked and disappointed by the gathering in the forest. Brown knew what happened in the ceremony was wrong and was ashamed to be associated with it. This triggered a response that affected his trust for others and the way he looked at everyone. In Shirley Jackson’s...
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