Short Story The Lottery Essay

Tradition in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Essay

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Tradition; it is the back bone of every culture and civilization. It is what keeps the beliefs, philosophies, and activities of societies alive, to be passed down from generation to generation. However not all traditions are practiced with pure intentions. Some activities become so routine, people don’t know a life outside of them. Societies become so accustomed to “tradition” that they will participate in pastimes without questioning the ethics or morals of the situation. Ultimately when tradition takes the place of a rationalizing mind the outcome can be incredibly dangerous. The role of tradition is an underlying theme in the short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, forcing readers to ask themselves “At what point do…show more content…

Now that all the papers are handed out the men begin to unfold the slips of paper to reveal blank pieces of paper. However one man is left with a paper with a black dot on it. The man unlucky enough to receive this slip of paper is Bill Hutchinson. Promptly Tessie Hutchinson, Bill’s wife, begins to panic saying he didn’t have enough time to pick his paper. Being a reasonable official Mr. Summers allows Hutchinson and each of his family members to reselect a paper. Bill, his two sons, one daughter, and wife Tessie each take a paper and Tessie Hutchinson is left with the paper with the black dot. The townspeople begin to clear a space around Tessie Hutchinson. One of the younger boys from earlier in the story hands her son a stone. While she screams “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” the townspeople begin stoning her, the lottery “winner”. Shirley Jackson’s use of characters is very detrimental to keeping the theme of the story lively. Whether they play a minor or significant role to the story each character reveals a lot of information about the tradition of the lottery and its intentions, varying from subtle to obvious details. One of the most important characters is Old Man Warner, an elderly man who is very conservative about the preservation of this tradition He holds it dearly to his heart, despite the fact that this tradition is slowly deteriorating in villages around him. Old Man Warner represents the stubborn nature of all the townspeople who are reluctant to

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