Blind Obedience in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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The author of “The Lottery” wrote this story “to shock the story’s readers with a graphic demonstration of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives” (Jackson 211). This story reflects human behavior in society to show how although rules, laws or traditions do not make sense, people follow them. Throughout the story the three main symbols of how people blindly follow senseless traditions were the lottery itself, the color black, and the hesitation that people had towards the prize. The lottery in the story was the game in which the prize was death. In reality this lottery symbolized the game of life, and how our behavior as human beings influences our choices in life and therefore our destiny. In this case the lottery signified winning eternal peace. This symbol helped the author develop the meaning of the story, because it is all based on the game of winning or losing. The way people from the village conducted the lottery was kind of scary, because they organized it as if it was another important event, such as the “square dances, the teenage club, the Halloween program” (Jackson 212). This shows how this tradition was taken as seriously as other occurrences that took place in the village. A person with some logic would not find this to be exactly a “game”, but the population followed the tradition and did not even think about the possibility to drop it, because then they would not know what to do, or what other event would they organize for June 27th. During the lottery Mr. Adams said “some places have already quit the lotteries” as of insinuating that if the neighbor towns forgot about the tradition, they should not have to keep following it (215). The bad thing is that no one paid attention to hi... ... middle of paper ... ...ited States,) we do have other rules, or laws, which instead of help people, it kills them little by little and some people decide to take justice in their hands. For example in some foreign countries the laws allow government to punish criminals by publically humiliating them and allowing other people to hurt them. In some foreign cultures the punishment for infidelity is to be publically humiliated by been beating up by some of the leaders of their community. If we go back to “The Lottery” it was the same thing as other countries keep on doing it today. The kind of humiliation and the whole game of the story represented in a way the reality that we have in our society. Works Cited Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery”. Literature an Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama. 4th Compact ed. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Longman, 2005. 211-218.
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