The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

764 Words4 Pages
Individual in Society

Can one individual change a large group of people? Can the effort of one person be enough to break up a faulty tradition practicing by a society? In most cases the answer would be ‘yes’ and in some ‘no’. Many individuals try and succeed but many fail just like the main character Tessie Hutchinson in Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery”. When someone hears the word “lottery”, he or she may think that someone will be rewarded with prize. But “The Lottery” By Shirley Jackson is different than what one thinks. In the story, a lottery is going to be conducted not like Mega Million or Powerball one play here. In the story, the person who wins the lottery is stoned to death instead of being rewarded with the prize. Tessie Hutchinson, the major character in the story, is wife of Mr. Bill Hutchinson and also a mother of three siblings and a married daughter. Jackson presents Mrs. Hutchinson as a strong rebellious character. Mrs. Hutchinson plays two different roles in this story. She is excitedly participating in the lottery ceremony at the beginning but her character shifts when her husband picks the winning lottery of death for their family. Mrs. Hutchinson is presented as a blind follower of old tradition, a strong rebellious character and a selfish and careless person in the society.

At the beginning of a story, Jackson presents Mrs. Hutchinson a devotee to the old tradition. When Mrs. Hutchinson comes hurriedly to participate in the lottery, she seems very excited. When she arrived little late and said, “Clean forgot what day it was”, the people nearby her laughed softly (Jackson 904-905). Even though she didn’t arrive at the lottery holding place on time she couldn’t reject or unfollow the tradition. ...

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...instead of one of her family members. Looking at the character of Mrs. Hutchinson, one can see that there are a lot of lies inside the society. Each person in the society has a real face behind the mask. Moreover, Jackson clearly presents the danger of blindly following the tradition and the selfishness of the society. In this story, Jackson successfully portrays the life of an individual against society. Individuality stands no chance against a large group of people who follow a tradition blindly. Moreover, an individual who wants to change the society may never be successful till the end. To change the attitude of a large group of people, an individual need to be supported by a large number of people.


Jackson, Shirley. "The Lottery." Literature for Life. X. J Kennedy, Dana Gioia, and Nina

Reveoyr. Boston: Pearson, 2013. 903-908. Print.
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