The story by Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery”, is a very unusual story. It is unique in its own ways. The author Shirley Jackson is definitely a passionate, creative writer to write a story like this one. There are some odd themes and lessons we can all learn from this crazy story. The story is about a small village of only around three hundred people who all know each other. “The morning of June 27th was cleat and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.
”(Jackson, 5) It is a somewhat pretty peaceful place to live.
Except that there is an out of the ordinary tradition that the whole village has practiced for many years. Every year they all gather together in the middle of the village. The tradition is called “The Lottery. It is where everybody takes a piece of paper from a black box and all unfold their piece of paper they have randomly drawn after everyone has grabbed his or her own.
“Every year, after the lottery, Mr. Summers began talking again about a new box, but every year the subject was allowed to fade off without anything being done. (Jackson, 8) There is a black mark on one piece of paper. Whoever has the black mark wins the lottery. The only thing is you do not want to win this lottery. If you are the one person who grabs this piece of paper with a black mark, you are to be sacrificed by the whole village. Everybody grabs stones and throws and chucks them hard at you and chases you. Even the children participate in this sickening tradition.
“The children assembled first, of course. School was recently over for the summer, and the feeling of sat uneasily on most of them. (Jackson, 5) Yet, nobody in the village challenges the odd tradition; they all just participate in it and accept the fact that somebody is going to randomly be selected to be sacrificed. There are some important themes in this story that we need to pay attention to. One of the themes is how people carelessly follow a tradition. The village lottery ends in a brutal murder each and every year, a very strange ritual that suggests how dangerous a tradition or traditions can be when people follow them blindly.
Before we know what type of lottery they are conducting, the villagers and their preparations seem harmless, and somewhat ordinary. Everyone is preoccupied with an old black box, and the lottery consists of just little handmade slips of paper. Shirley Jackson shows how people preserve a tradition. She writes that the villagers do not even really know that much about the lottery’s origin, but try to preserve the tradition nevertheless. The villagers’ blind acceptance of the lottery has allowed ritual murder to become part of their town tradition.
As they have demonstrated, they feel powerless to change anything, although there is no one forcing them to keep the tradition around. These ordinary people, who have just come from working or from their homes and will soon return home for lunch, easily kill someone when they are told to do so. And they do not have a reason for doing it other than the fact it is part of the lottery’s tradition. If the villagers stopped to question the tradition, they would be forced to ask themselves why they are committing a murder for absolutely no reason, but no one stops to question it.
For the villagers, the fact that this is a tradition is a good enough reason for them all to justify they need to preserve. Another theme of the story seems to be the randomness of killing people. Villagers come together to kill an individual at random, and the victim is guilty of no wrongdoing other than having drawn the wrong slip of paper from the black box. The crazy ritual of the lottery is made so that all villagers have the same exact chance of becoming the victim. Each year, someone new is chosen and killed, and nobody’s family is safe. The Lottery” is frightening at how fast the villagers turn against the victim. As soon as Tessie Hutchinson chooses the slip of paper with a black mark, everyone turns against her. Her friends and family participate in the brutal killing with as much enthusiasm as everybody else in the village. Although she has done absolutely nothing wrong, her innocence does not matter to anyone. She has drawn the slip of paper and according to the logic of the lottery, she has to die. Tessie’s death is a great example of how a society can kill innocent people for ridiculous reasons.
Today we can say everybody is persecuted randomly, by how they are born, because all discrimination, whether they are based on race, sex, appearance, religion, economic class, geographical region, family background, or sexual orientation, are all essentially at random and not chosen by you. Those who are persecuted become marked because of a characteristic that is out of their own control, such as, they are the wrong sex or from the wrong part of a country. Just as the villagers in The Lottery carelessly follow a tradition and kill Tessie because that is what they are expected to do.
People in real life often persecute other people without questioning why. Shirley Jackson suggests, any such persecution is basically random, which is why Tessie’s out of the ordinary death is so universal. It seems very odd that a small village in the middle of nowhere can have such a cruel ritual. But, like today society has marked people that should be persecuted, even if they have not done anything wrong. Shirley Jackson sure made a quite interesting story. Now when looking back at the story and being able to relate it to modern times in society, you can almost understand what point she was trying to get across.
Cite this The story by Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery”
The story by Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery”. (2016, Oct 30). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-story-by-shirley-jackson-the-lottery/