Springfield College School
of Human Services
Communications Skills 2
By Bobby Sampson
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is the story of a village following a tradition that results in the sacrifice of one citizen each year by stoning. The author Shirley Jackson shows the reader how following the unknown may result into sorrowful actions if one is too apprehensive to ask questions. Although the villagers do not know why they follow the tradition they willingly participate until they become the victim. Shirley Jackson provides a story full of brutal undertones about a village that performs human sacrifice and blind fellowship that is similar to the mentality of racism. While reading The Lottery the story has a brutal undertone that is evident in the atmosphere and the personality of the characters in the story. From the opening Shirley Jackson describes a peaceful setting but it is full of tension. The first example that something is discomfiting is the children’s attitude when they are dismissed from school, “the feeling of liberty sat uneasily on most of them” (Jackson, 1948). Jackson sets up an ideal summer day, but as her descriptions become more in depth the young boy’s actions also show signs of a slow shift in the atmosphere. Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones (Jackson, 1948). The personalities of the characters change from being peaceful and friendly to antagonistic. When Tessie the main character of the story finally arrives to participate in “The Lottery” she partakes in light banter with Mrs. Delacroix. Tessie jokes with Mr. Summers about her tardiness which shows friendship amongst the villagers, until it is revealed Tessie’s husband picked the ticket that will decide the fate for a member of their family. From her husband telling her to shut up when she complains about him picking the...
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