Those Who Blindly Follow the Masses in Shirley Jackson's “The Lottery”

Topics: Ethics, Human, Short story Pages: 3 (766 words) Published: April 23, 2014

Those Who Blindly Follow the Masses in Shirley Jackson's “The Lottery”

There have always been horrid traditions that many people blindly follow because they live in a society that practices them. In Shirley Jackson's short story, “The Lottery,” Tessie Hutchison becomes the unlucky victim of a brutal and merciless stoning which questions our contemporary ethical values. Although the setting in “The Lottery” is not specified, we can assume that it is centered in small-town America in a time era resembling present day. There is a lot of evidence that the people in the story are not from a specific culture but represent a generic culture that can be applied to many facts about culture and even to civilizations worldwide. The people of “The Lottery” blindly follow the traditions of their culture, even when it is taking away their morals.

Tessie, like many people, believe that the world can be cruel and unjust. Upon birth, we are thrown into a world far beyond our control. We cannot decide what race or culture we will be born into, or how much wealth our family possesses. To put it simply: life itself is a lottery. Jackson uses the lottery as a symbol of the inequality of being born into the human race. The fate of the citizens lies in the inability of their society to accept change and put aside a tradition followed since its' beginning. How can innocent lives be taken by the hands of one man, his box and a cruel black circle on a piece of paper? Even in modern society innocent people are lost to people blindly following the masses. Take the holocaust for example. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people died at the hands of one man. And while the citizens of Germany may have questioned the morality of what was happening, there were only a few who spoke out against the injustice; the rest did not, in fear for the well-being of themselves and their families. Instead, they stood with the crowd, just as the people of the village in “The Lottery” do. The...
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