Mindless Conformity In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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As the story of “The Lottery” comes to an end, readers are left with a shocking reaction. Shirley Jackson’s Characters continuously participate in a lottery, where the reasoning for it has been forgotten. Throughout Shirley Jacksons Story of “The Lottery” readers can see how conformity can bring out the evilness in human nature, by characters continuing a tradition regardless of immorality. Throughout the story of the lottery the villagers all conform to a tradition where they no longer remember the reasoning for participating. Coulthard says the lottery is “a transparent attack on blind obedience to tradition that little or no exegesis tradition. “ (Coulthard 1). Shirley Jackson creates the lottery to show how these characters mindlessly…show more content…
Due to the characters conforming to this immoral tradition for so long, their evilness is brought to light. In the article “Jacksons The Lottery” Coulthard says, “It is a grim, even nihilistic, parable of the evil inherent in human nature” (Coulthard 1). Here he talks about how the evilness in these characters come about and how it will always remain due to evil being inborn into individuals. The tradition is not what makes these villagers evil, but the evilness within these characters is what keeps the tradition going. “It is not that the ancient custom of human sacrifice makes the villagers behave cruelly, but that their thinly veiled cruelty keeps the custom alive.” (Coulthard 2). Towards the end of the story, Jackson says, “Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones.” (Jackson 7). Readers can see in this passage that the villagers do not remember the purpose, but they remember the evil action which takes place in this lottery. This is because the villagers have evilness within them and rather act out in evilness. Readers can also see evilness when one of the main characters, Mrs. Delacroix, tells Tessie to be a good sport. “Be a good sport, Tessie” (Jackson 6). Mrs. Delacroix has evilness within her because she knows within a few minutes Tessie would be getting stoned to death, but still tells her to take this bad situation…show more content…
In the short story of “ The Lottery By Shirley Jackson we see that these villages continue this lottery not only because they conform, but because they have evilness within them and continuously participating in this lottery is how they illustrate their evilness. Coulthard ends his article by saying, “The Lottery is not the story of a custom that makes no sense, but of one that fulfills a deep and horrifying need. (Coulthard 2). Readers can see that this story of the lottery is not just a story about villagers who conform, but villagers who conform to such a thing because of the evilness they have within. Participating in this evil deed is how the villagers release their evilness. The short story of “The Lottery” relates to individuals in today 's society by showing how us as humans do not know the reasoning behind the many traditions we celebrate, we just participate because it has always been tradition or because how it makes us act. Lastly it shows that regardless of morality individuals have evilness within, but mask who they really are by seeming one way, and acting
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