Loss of Humanity in "The Lottery"

Topics: Short story, The Lottery, Shirley Jackson Pages: 3 (871 words) Published: March 27, 2011
Gavin Baker

Enc. 1102

Loss of Humanity in “The Lottery”
In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” there are many themes to pick up on, however the one that seems to be the most important is the theme of humanity. In this short story many things burst out at the reader but the theme of humanity is one that the reader must be looking for. The loss of humanity is apparent in the story because of the activities they are acting upon, their feelings of others, and the connation in which they speak.

First and forth most, the lottery in which Jackson rights about is almost the opposite of what most states participate in today. Though the opening statement wouldn’t lead you to believe so, “The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day…the grass was richly green” (247) This expositions set the story out to be almost fairy-tale like, by showing the reader a perfect town. However it is far from this, the town is much worse than any evil step mother. The town is participating in an act of murder, even if they believe it is justifiable. The act of the lottery starts off with the gathering of the town. “Soon the men began to gather…” (247) This than lead to the families gathering with their own. “The women, standing next to their husbands, began to call the children…” (247) The plot doesn’t become dark until the black box shows up. (248)

Once the plot as become dark it stays that way until the ending. “‘It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.”(252) though there are certainly more than a few examples of the loss of humanity however this the one that sticks out like a sore thumb. When the people are upon her it isn’t a trait of human kind, at not least the human kind of the past few centuries, that is something that animals do and not “civilized” humans.

Secondly, the way that they talk about their neighboring towns shows the loss of humanity. First shown with Mr. Adam’s talking of...
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