Tradition v.s Common Sense

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Whether it is a celebratory tradition or a tradition that has been followed since ancient times, unmans will not question the motives behind it; they will Just continue to follow it. In the short story “The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson, villagers blindly follow their annual tradition, one that claims a life every year. All the villagers take part in this event knowing that there will be death yet no one dares to stop and question it.

Even when some people do stop and question the reasons that began the tradition, they will not do anything about it because it is a tradition that has been followed countless and they do not want to be the only ones to question it or even worse, not follow it. This shows that human beings will tolerate acts of evil and injustices in traditions, making them unable to step out of that circle and see what is really going on because of their preference of tradition over common sense. It does not matter if the tradition consists of bloodshed or even death; humans will continue to blindly follow tradition.

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Traditions have been around for thousands of years, even before civilized human life began. They have been performed all over the world, in all points of time. In the overview by Joyce Moss and George Wilson, it is explained that ancient cultures lived sacrifices were necessary to benefit the community. In fact, during ancient times a tradition similar to “The Lottery’ was such “a highly regarded mean of decision-making that eventually most civic matters were resolved by. ” Joyce Moss & George Wilson) This is because traditions were among the main parts or sections of ancient human life.

Even now, traditions are still a big part of human life. Many traditions around the world are a huge thing for humans. They will make special foods, decorations, and even rituals. However, many of these traditions are performed without thought. Many traditions are followed because it has been done before, no one has questioned it before, and so there is no reason to stop it now. In “The Lottery’ one can analyze that the original meaning and aspects of the tradition have indeed been lost and that the tradition is followed Just because.

The analysis made on study mode suggests that “Substituting slips of paper for chips of wood, a recital prior to the lottery, and a salute to address each person” are some of the aspects that have changed prior to the original lottery, the first one that began everything. Analysis of the Tradition in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery’) It also mentions that the actual tradition has remained a routine. This leads to the conclusion that the lottery is no longer continued because of the tradition, but because it has been done for so long it Just feels right to continue to follow it.

In many societies, rituals are part of the traditions. Many believe these rituals are performed because of religion or a similar idea. What people do not know is that not all rituals are needed or performed because of religion. Many rituals are Just performed because of tradition. It does not matter if the ritual is harmful and has a negative impact on society; many societies will still perform them Just to keep the tradition going. The short story, “The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson, shows a perfect example of this.

The people of the town still perform the ritual because of the tradition held every year. They do not care if someone they love or care for dies; they just want to follow the tradition. Even the own family members participate in the ritual, which is stoning one of their own family members to death. These types of rituals are incredible acts of evil but humans still participate in them. In the last section of the overview by Jennifer Hicks, she explains very thoroughly the tradition of stoning. In it she explains that it was a standing ritual.

She does mention that the “original paraphernalia for the lottery has been lost long ago. ” (Hicks) There is a part in the story where old man Warner stated, “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon. ” This refers to human sacrifices benefiting the community with food, which is something that by the time the story takes place, which is around the 1700 to sass, should be known that it is not real. So why do they continue to do this? It is the simple reasons of following a tradition. There are many concerns on why human beings follow traditions that are inhumane instead of using their common sense.

Most of the issues are due to the fact that many rituals followed by humans consist of bloodshed or even death. In many societies, traditions play a big role, causing more and more people to be a part of them. The main dilemma is why people accept traditions that involve bloodshed or death, and continue to be part of them. It should be common sense that traditions that involve bloodshed and death can be no good to societies, specially societies filled with children. Traditions like these will only poison the minds of the young with the idea that a tradition must be followed no matter what.

The reason people do not stop them is because they do not want to stand out. In the book “Shirley Jackson” by Friedman Lineman, it explains that Shirley Jackson was new to a small town when she moved. She did not really know anybody so she did not participate in the town’s traditions. This caused other towns people to look at her weird, like an outsider. This can reflect on her short story of “The Lottery’, in which he analysis can be made that Mrs.. Hutchinson was an outsider, not so much of being new but the type that does not do what everyone else does, in this case, the tradition of the lottery.

It is clear that these traditions have taken over the common sense of the people. Now, people do not think before acting. They Just follow traditions to the letter. They do no stop to think about their traditions and if they are beneficial or plain out dangerous. They Just do not want to stand out; they want to be the same as everyone else. It is around these thoughts that the main concern revolves around. Humans will argue that traditions are needed when the reality is that they are not. They have gotten surrounded so much by traditions; it is like a second language to them.

The short story “The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson explains how human beings in the village have been blinded by a tradition, which is the lottery. With careful analysis, it is easy to spot all blind actions carried out by the villagers. Everybody seems nice and Joyful throughout the story until the very end. “It seems as though Jackson is making a statement regarding hypocrisy and human evil. ” (Analysis of the Tradition in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery’) What Shirley Jackson wants us to realize by writing this story is that people are so blinded by traditions; they might kill someone thinking it is alright.

Shirley Jackson uses ideas similar to these to suggest that there is an underlying evil and weakness in human beings. The village, having performed such an act for so many years, continues on with it, with no complaints or questions being asked, and the main purpose being to carry on the tradition. In the story, it states, “There’s always been a lottery says Old Man Warner. “Nothing but ruble in that,” he says of quitting the event. (122) However, almost all the villagers show some type of anxiety or fear toward the tradition.

Comments like “Don’t be nervous Jack” (122) and “Get up there Bill” (123) indicate that the people may not be entirely comfortable with the lottery. Yet everyone still goes along with it. Nobody openly expresses or shows their fear toward the lottery. Shirley Jackson may be trying to show the reader that many individuals are not strong enough to go against or stand up to their disapproval for the fear of being rejected by their own society. Instead, the villagers will continue to risk not only their lives, but the lives of their family members as well.

She makes suggestions that human beings are not always who they seem and can turn their back on you at any time for the sake of their beliefs, or in this case, tradition. Throughout history, humans have made the choice to choose their traditions over their common sense. They do not think of the effects that will be caused because of their actions. Nowadays, people in societies continue to follow traditions or “trends” rather than stopping and thinking about common sense. Humans will stand on the side to watch an argument, accident or incident, rather than stepping in and doing something about it.

They do not step in because they do not want to stand out in front of everybody else; they do not want the spotlight on them. They are frightened that they will be rejected later on. It is the same thing with traditions. Human beings do not care if there is death in the tradition, they will continue to follow it as long as they do not stand out and are not rejected or looked down on. This shows that human beings will tolerate acts of evil and injustices in traditions, making them enable to step out of that circle and see what is really going on because of their preference of tradition over common sense.

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Tradition v.s Common Sense. (2018, Feb 04). Retrieved from

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