...popular. Shirley Jackson succeeded in writing a story that shocked the readers and gave them a new outlook on preserving traditions and imperfections of society. The human sacrifices that occur every year with the lottery show that some traditions are brutal and need to be reconsidered. Some of the symbolism such as the lottery, the black box, and the characters help bring about the theme of the short story. Ultimately, Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery shows just how individuals follow traditions and people in front of them by conforming to society.
Shirley Jackson wrote “The Lottery” in 1948, not long after the second World War. The horror of the Holocaust was still fresh in everyone’s mind’s. Jackson wrote this story to remind everyone that we are not so far from this world of sadistic human sacrifice. She created a town, very much like any American town, with the gathering of the towns people to celebrate some annual event. She wanted to shine a mirror on contemporary society, a reflection of humanity, or rather, inhumanity. One would think that she was protesting against the shallow hypocrites that rule the world.
In 1948 Shirley Jackson published a very controversial short story The Lottery. The setting for the story, a gathering in a small rural village is symbolic of "small town America." It was customary at that time, for rural community leaders to organize summertime gatherings to bring people together and to acknowledge people and businesses. It was thought to be good for the businesses and good for the community. These gatherings were usually organized by the city council and featured lotteries with modest cash-prizes. This made The Lottery instantly recognizable to readers, especially those who lived in a small town and they did not like the way that this particular story developed and concluded. Shirley Jackson received a lot of negative reactions from the public for The Lottery. The story caused a lot of conflict with readers because of the killing of an innocent person. The story does have a positive note however, as the theme tells a good message that readers should follow. One of the main theme is following traditions a society and the characters and the setting in the story affect the theme.
Shirley Jackson wrote many books in her life, but she was well known by people for her story “The Lottery” (Hicks). “The Lottery” was published on June 28, 1948, in the New Yorker magazine (Schilb). The story sets in the morning of June 27th in a small town. The townspeople gather in the square to conduct their annual tradition, the Lottery. The winner of the lottery will stoned to death by the society. Although there is no main character in the story, the story develops within other important elements. There are some important elements of the story that develop the theme of the story: narrator and its point of view, symbolism, and main conflict. The story “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson, argues practicing a tradition without understanding the meaning of the practice is meaningless and dangerous.
The Lottery, a gothic short story written by Shirley Jackson, illustrates a fantasy about a small and isolated community that takes part in a sacrificial ritual that can only be described as vile and barbaric. Names of all of the citizens are put in a “black box” and eventually, a person is randomly selected to be stoned to death by their own family and fellow citizens. The reason for stoning, or the beliefs of the citizens, is to ensure there is a good crop yield for the year. Shirley Jackson uses the story to expose the subtle brutality in humanity and the dangers in social insecurities that lead to blind faith and following in traditions and cultures. Jackson uses plot and setting to illustrate the subtle brutality in humanity. Characters
The chances of winning the lottery currently stands at one in two hundred and ninety-two million (Becker). Every year, Americans spend over seventy billion dollars in hopes of becoming a lottery winner, but what happens when these people are not winning money, but instead they are winning a death sentence? Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery”, follows a small town that conducts a traditional ceremony every year that results in the death of one citizen. Each family is forced to draw one paper, which ultimately results in one person drawing a paper with a black dot. That black dot symbolizes death. In this instance, a woman named Tessie Hutchinson becomes the martyr for other women in her society. Shirley Jackson’s literary work, “The
When initially reading Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” focusing on aspects of themes and ideas is difficult, as the apparently seamless shift from ordinary socialization to death is highly outrageous. However, after multiple readings, Jackson’s messages become more apparent, with her prominent theme tackling societal norms. Growing up Catholic, attending parochial school until sixth grade, and regularly attending church creates a tendency for me to follow tradition and rituals, without question. Yet, Jackson’s story directly challenges the ethics of this behavior as she criticizes how society functions, blindly maintaining the status quo simply because that is how it has “always been” (246), regardless of its morality or relevance in the modern world. Even
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” tells a story of a tradition passed on from one generation to the next that has allowed ritual murder to become a part of the town’s history. “The Lottery” shows that these traditions have the ability to destroy a society. “The Lottery” exhibits the dangers of blindly following unexamined traditions. The perils of blindly following unexamined rituals are demonstrated when the people gather in the square while the children gather stones, when Bill Hutchinson willingly gives up his wife without a second thought, and when Tessie Hutchinson is stoned.
Winning the lottery can be rewarding with money, gifts, and more. However, in the short story, 'The Lottery', written by Shirley Jackson, the lottery is something that people shouldn’t participate in. The short story takes place in a small town with an approximate number of three hundred residents. The lottery takes place every year on June 27 where the townspeople gather up in the middle of the town in order to participate in the lottery. We do not find out until the end of the story that the winning family member is sentenced to death in an unusual way. Jackson creates a story filled with symbolism, irony, grim reality, and a ritualized tradition that masks evil, which ultimately demonstrated how people blindly follow tradition.
Winning a lottery is a good thing, right? Someone buys a ticket, then scratches it off or waits to see if they hold the winning number in their hands. However, that is not the case in Shirley Jackson’s world of “The Lottery”. In her critically acclaimed short story, a small town gathers in the village square and draws a name out of a box, and the ‘winner’ of their lottery is brutally stoned to death. All of this is done in a calm and orderly fashion, as well as without question. The lottery is a yearly event, and has been done for ages. “All of us took the same chance,”(Jackson) was uttered by the victim of the story, Tessie Hutchinson, is all but true. The town lottery of death is mandatory for all of its residents, young and old. Of course, someone could imagine that a story as gory as this one would stir up at least some controversy. Readers of newspapers and magazines that published “The Lottery” were outraged, and many canceled their subscriptions. Their reaction to the unexpected plot twist in the story led them to question who would even dream up such an abomination. Their answer was a woman named Shirley Jackson, a writer known for her dislocated, lonely characters that paralleled her depressed, college-dropout self. She was described as always writing, and “The Lottery” is included in her only collection of short stories. Jackson was expressing the theme that a person’s greatest importance is themselves through foreshadowing, symbolism, and irony in her short story, “The Lottery”.