Tradition; it is the back bone of every culture and civilization. It is what keeps the beliefs, philosophies, and activities of societies alive, to be passed down from generation to generation. However not all traditions are practiced with pure intentions. Some activities become so routine, people don’t know a life outside of them. Societies become so accustomed to “tradition” that they will participate in pastimes without questioning the ethics or morals of the situation. Ultimately when tradition takes the place of a rationalizing mind the outcome can be incredibly dangerous. The role of tradition is an underlying theme in the short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, forcing readers to ask themselves “At what point do people set tradition aside and realize the thoughtlessness of their actions in their practices?”
The Lottery begins with the description of a clear, sunny summer day in a small village. The townspeople are beginning to gather in the town square for the annual “lottery”. Jackson starts the story off by describing what groups are assembling in the square and their actions. Young boys collecting pebbles with pockets full of stones and older women gossiping and laughing together nervously, foreshadowing the twisted ending to this chilling short story. The process needed to conduct the lottery is mentioned, revealing that lists had to be made “...- of heads of families, heads of households in each family, members of each household in each family.” (239) These lists are all the work of the official of the lottery, Mr. Summers. Once all the townspeople have joined at the square it is time to start the lottery. The head of each household, generally male, walks up to Mr. Summers to select a paper from th...
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...ruesome and strictly followed the tradition is. Davy Hutchinson doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that his mother is going to be stoned because he has been prepared for this moment.
The Lottery is an amazing work of fiction not only because of its extraordinary twist on the concept of tradition, but for its classic irony and impeccable use of symbolism. The Lottery questions whether or not tradition should be respected for what it is or evolve to suit new generations. When asked the purpose of writing The Lottery, Shirley Jackson responded that the story was "to shock the story's readers with a graphic demonstration of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives." (237) Jackson was a true visionary as a female author who created a thought provoking and alarming story to readers in a time when tradition was still heavily weighted in society.
Tradition is a central theme in Shirley Jackon's short story The Lottery. Images such as the black box and characters such as Old Man Warner, Mrs. Adams, and Mrs. Hutchinson display to the reader not only the tenacity with which the townspeople cling to the tradition of the lottery, but also the wavering support of it by others. In just a few pages, Jackson manages to examine the sometimes long forgotten purpose of rituals, as well as the inevitable questioning of the necessity for such customs.
Shirley Jackson?s insights and observations about society are reflected in her shocking and disturbing short story The Lottery. Jackson reveals two general attitudes in this story: first is the shocking tendency for societies to select a scapegoat and second is the idea that communities are victims of social tradition and rituals.
In “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, tradition is seen as very high and something to be respected not to be messed with. Although, the lottery has been removed from other towns, the village where the story is set in still continues to participate in the lottery. It is almost as if the other towns realized the lack of humanity in the tradition. However, the village still continues with the lottery even though the majority of the ritual has been lost or changed. The oldest man in the village complains about how the lottery is not what it used to be. There are hidden messages in “The Lottery” that reflects today’s society that the author wants to make apparent and change, such as, the danger of blindly following without any knowledge, the randomness
Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” remains to this day one of the most iconic stories ever written. Published in 1948, Jackson reveals how blinded social acceptance is a major influence on people and how they act towards others. Once a year, the villagers gather together and await for Mr. Summers. In his possession, is a black box which contains a folded piece of paper with a black dot. Each person in the village is required to take a piece of paper, whoever obtains the paper with the black dot is the lottery winner. For this year, the lottery winner is Tessie Hutchinson. Although she does not believe it is fair that she was the chosen one, she is still thrown into a pit and stoned to death. In spite of the fact that no one understands why this barbaric tradition continues, the villagers are not willing to abandon this tradition. Shirley Jackson
The short story “ The Lottery ” the author Shirley Jackson uses symbolism and imagery to develop a theme the brings forth the evil and inhumane nature of tradition and the danger of when it’s carried out with ignorance.
Americans day after day live much of their lives following time-honored traditions that are passed down from one generation to another. From simple everyday cooking and raising children, to holidays and other family rituals, tradition plays a significant role on how they go by there everyday lives. In Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery," the citizens of a small farming town follow one such tradition. A point is made regarding human nature in relation to tradition. The story begins on a beautiful summer afternoon. The town's citizens are eager, gathering in the town square in order to take part in the yearly lottery. With the story focused around one particular family, the Hutchinsons, who are so anxious to get it all over with until they find that one of their members is to participate in the lottery's closing festivities, Tessie. Of course unlike your typical lotteries, this is not one that you would want to win. The one chosen from the lottery is to undertake a cruel and unusual death by stoning at the hands of their fellow townsmen for the sake that it may bring a fruitful crop for the coming harvest season. Ironically, many of the towns people have suggested that the lottery be put to an end, but most find the idea unheard of being that they have lived in it's practice for most of their lives. The story conveys a message that traditions may be valued so highly that those in their practice may do everything they can to ensure that they continue in accordance. From this a question arises. How far would one go to ensure their sacred traditions remain unscathed?
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.
Tradition is huge in small towns and families and allows for unity through shared values, stories, and goals from one generation to the next. Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” carries that theme of tradition. The story follows a small town that performs the tradition of holding an annual lottery in which the winner gets stoned to death. It (tradition) is valued amongst human societies around the world, but the refusal of the villagers in “The Lottery” to let go of a terrifying long-lasting tradition suggests the negative consequences of blindly following these traditions such as violence and hypocrisy.
Tradition is something that happens over time from generation to generation. In Shirley Jackson's story, The Lottery, every year, on June 27, a murder occurs. In the short story, The Lottery, people murder one of their fellow villagers without questioning why because it is a part of their tradition. The people of the village blindly follow the ritual that has been handed down to them over generations which demonstrates the dangers of conformity.
For over 2 hours the villagers gathered around the town’s square awaiting the results to the annual lottery. “The Lottery” was written by Shirley Jackson in 1948 and became one of America’s best and most controversial short stories. In “The Lottery” Shirley Jackson expressed her opinion on society’s resistance to change and how people uphold traditions passed down through generations.
It can be outrageous how people blindly follow tradition without knowing the history behind it or the ritual that started it all? In Shirley Jackson's, “The Lottery” the characters are living in a very small village that hosts the lottery. The lottery started off as a ritual that the founders of the village believed; When the lottery is over, the crops would grow. This ritual soon became a tradition. The time has come and Mr. Summers and the other characters that live in the village are ready for the lottery. Today, they just do the lottery because they believe they have to-- they do not really know the meaning behind it.
The orderly plot structure allows readers to experience the story as if they were witnessing actual events. The unsettling familiarity of these events suggests to readers that their community, too, may be clinging thoughtlessly to outdated traditions in spite of negative consequences. Because it does not evaluate or explain the savage events of the story, the objective, detached point of view used in "The Lottery" forces readers to ask the question, "why do people often get stuck on outdated traditions in spite of not only negative, but tragic consequences?" Shirley Jackson sets the savage ritual events of her story in a bland, unremarkable setting, suggesting that this disturbing scenario can occur anywhere, and no one in society is excluded.
What thoughts come to mind when you think of "The Lottery?" Positive thoughts including money, a new home, excitement, and happiness are all associated with the lottery in most cases. However, this is not the case in Shirley Jackson’s short story, "The Lottery." Here, the characters in the story are not gambling for money, instead they are gambling for their life. A shock that surprises the reader as she unveils this horrifying tradition in the village on this beautiful summer day. This gamble for their life is a result of tradition, a tradition that is cruel and inhumane, yet upheld in this town. Shirley Jackson provides the reader’s with a graphic description of violence, cruelty, and inhumane treatment which leads to the unexpected meaning of "The Lottery." Born in San Francisco, Jackson began writing early in her life. She won a poetry prize at age twelve and continued writing through high school. In 1937 she entered Syracuse University, where she published stories in the student literary magazine. After marriage to Stanley Edgar Hyman, a notable literary critic, she continued to write. Her first national publication “My Life with R.H. Macy” was published in The New Republic in 1941but her best-known work is “The Lottery.”(Lit Links or Reagan). Jackson uses characterization and symbolism to portray a story with rising action that surprises the reader with the unexpected odd ritual in the village. While one would expect “The Lottery” to be a positive event, the reader’s are surprised with a ritual that has been around for seventy-seven years , demonstrating how unwilling people are to make changes in their everyday life despite the unjust and cruel treatment that is associated with this tradi...
In summary, the short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson was a very suspenseful and unusual story. The author had interesting ways to tell the reader about the events that take place and why. By using very descriptive details and focusing mainly on what exactly was taking place, the author offers the reader a sense of keenness to know what will happen at the end. Even though the author was not entirely clear about why the lottery was taking place and what the result would be, she is more than clear about the townsfolk’s feelings regarding the whole situation. This and many other details in the story enable the reader to think critically about the implicit meanings in the story. In all, I enjoyed reading this story a lot and would recommend this story to someone else who can read and think critically about the context of a story.