Module 3 – Duscussion#5- The lottery
“The Lottery”, a short story written by Shirley Jackson is a disturbing shocker. Jackson tells a story about a small village that follows the tradition of a lottery they partake in every year. The story starts off lighthearted describing a beautiful summer day that was “clear and sunny” (1214). The villagers gather around for the lottery not because they know the reason behind what they do, but for the mere fact that it is a tradition and they must keep it going. At the very end we realize that the lottery does not have to do with winning at all, it has to do with murder. In an instant when Tessie, a popular village wife is chosen, the village turns on her and stones her to death. The author uses the lottery as a symbol of the danger and corruption of following traditions blindly.
In the story the villagers do not quite know where the tradition of the lottery came from nor do they know why they even do it. All they know is that it is a tradition and they must keep it going. Paragraph seven tells us “Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr. Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations.” (1215). Because the lottery ends in bloodshed the author is telling us that things such as tradition and religious orthodoxy can be terrible dangerous if we follow them blindly just for the sake of tradition.
The entire plot is based off of a traditional family structure. The head of the household, which are men, choose the paper slip as the women stand by. The family as a unit plays an important role on who gets called and who ultimately dies. The irony of this is how quick the family turns on Tessie at the end of the story. When it was time “Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and they were upon her” (1219). The author is telling us that so much goes into the image of family but in the end there is no loyalty or love. There is corruption in...
Cited: Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” Literature and Composition. Ed. Sylvan Barnet, William Burto, and William E. Cain. 9th ed. New York: Longman, 2010. 1214-1219. Print.
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