The Lottery: A Short Story on Superstitions, Rituals and Beliefs

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Brandy Gramse
Prof. Jessica Cosita
ENGL 2020
14 February 2013
“The Lottery” Essay
From the beginning of the civilization on earth, people have many different superstitions or beliefs about life. People believe if they were to do certain things such as, finding a penny on heads, they would have good luck. Some of these superstitions go on for such long periods of time, and people do them so often that they become traditions or rituals without an effort. Also, people who conform to old rituals and traditions often lose their minds and commit vicious actions against others out of tradition. For instance, some Hindu communities used to kill, or offer as a sacrifice, a virgin to satisfy Goddess Kali from their beliefs that this sacrifice would bring luck and prosperity for them. In her short story "The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson is trying to point out what people do in the name of tradition. Jackson describes a small town where the people have been taught in order for their crop to be abundant for the year an individual has to be sacrificed. In the very beginning of the story, we see people of a small town gathering in the central square on June 27th to celebrate the annual lottery, right before the crop season. There is much excitement and interests within the village as the rituals of the event proceed. Every year the villagers drew a slip that was placed into a black box. The person who draws the paper with the mark wins the lottery and gets stoned to death. They justify this dangerous ritual from the belief that “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon” which means if they have a lottery before cropping season they will have a bountiful season. According to old man Warner, who has been attending the lottery for seventy-seven years, villagers would be crazy to give up the lottery. When Mr. Adam told old man Warner that the north village was talking about giving up the lottery, old man Warner snorted calling them crazy fools. He then warned the villagers that...
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