Meaningless Traditions In The Lottery, By Shirley Jackson

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The specific details Jackson describes in the beginning of “The Lottery” set us up for the shocking conclusion. The setting in the beginning of the lottery, by Shirley Jackson, creates a mood of peacefulness and tranquility. The image portrayed by the author is that of a typical town on a normal summer day. Shirley Jackson uses this setting to foreshadow an ironic ending. The Lotteries has a theme of meaningless traditions can be harmful. The village lottery culminates in a violent murder each year, a bizarre ritual that suggests how dangerous traditions can be. Before we know what kind of lottery they’re conducting, the villagers and their preparations seem harmless. Tradition is endemic to small towns, a way to link families and generations.…show more content…
The first piece is the black box. The shabby black box represents both the traditions of the lottery and the illogic of the villagers’ loyalty to it. No one in town remembers the original box, so the current box they are using, which is also old, worn, is a replacement box. “The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born. Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box.” (pg 141. Para.5) The second piece is the three-legged stool that supports the dreaded black box and easily represents the tradition of the lottery. The narrator observes that the “villagers kept their distance, leaving space between themselves and the stool.” The villagers acknowledge the presence of the stool, but aren’t inclined to move closer to the stool; their fear distances them from the stool and the tradition of the lottery. The stool remains as it supports the box; in this way, the reader can understand the conflict of the villagers keeping a tradition that nobody likes or enjoys verses their collective fear of removing it all together. The final piece of symbolism is the white slips of paper that symbolize equality among the villagers; they are all affected…show more content…
Mrs. Hutchinson also known as Tessie Hutchinson arrives late to the lottery, admitting that she forgot what day it was, she immediately stands out from the other villagers. The other women arrive at the square calmly, chatting amongst one another and then standing by their husbands, Tessie arrives flustered and out of breath. The crowd must part for her to reach her family, and she and her husband endure good-natured teasing as she makes her way to them. On a day when the villagers’ single focus is the lottery, this interruption seems inappropriate, even unforgiveable; everyone comes to the lottery, and everyone comes on time. Jackson sets Tessie apart as a kind of free spirit who was able to forget about the lottery entirely as she performed her chores. Perhaps because Tessie is a free spirit she is the only villager to protest the lottery. When the Hutchinson family draws the marked paper, she exclaims, “It wasn’t fair!” (pg.143, para. 45) The protesting continues as she is selected and eventually stoned to death, instead of listening to her, the villagers ignore her. By recognizing the round/dynamic, fictional character, we accomplish the Student Learning Outcome of identifying and recognizing the main

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