Unjust Traditions of the Lottery by Shirley Jackson

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Published in 1948, The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson has become well known by the tradition of

the village. Tradition plays a key role throughout the lives of the villagers. The title of this short

story “ The Lottery” may lead one to believe that something good is to come but later as you

read on, you will realize that this is not the case. By the unjust persecution of innocent

individuals, Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” portrays the dangers of blindly

following tradition.

The lottery is a traditional event that takes place annually on June 27. The whole village

gathers at the square for the drawing of the lottery starting with the children and ending with the

adults. In some towns this event would be started a day earlier because of the large population of

people. But in this village there was an estimated three hundred population taking less than two

hours. The description of the lottery taking “ less than two hours” may cause the reader to be

uncertain about what the meaning of the lottery really is. This statement inclines one to think that

this isn’t a blissful occasion taking place by the mood of the description. (Tibbett)
Mr. Summers, the head of most events in the village including the lottery, gathers information

on the households the night before and makes a list for the next day. Papers are assorted into the

black box, which indicates an outdated tradition, suggested by this sentence: "The black box

grew shabbier each year: by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along

one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained." (Jackson)

This is an example of how tradition hasn’t changed over the years. But there is talk about

previous traditions that have been forgotten, such as the ritual salute, which was used to address

the person who came up for the drawing.

There are people who agree and...
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