The Lottery: An Honorable Sacrifice? Essay

The Lottery: An Honorable Sacrifice? Essay

Length: 1183 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In 1948 the New Yorker Magazine published a short story written by Shirley Jackson entitled “The Lottery.” This story begins June 27th, a clear and sunny day at ten o’clock in the morning. Clear and sunny could be indicative of a happy cheerful story; however, as this story progresses there are no discoveries of a happy ending at all. “The Lottery” is a tale of a horrible death, in which a small farming society considered to be a necessary sacrifice for the good of their crops. Tessie Hutchinson was stoned to death without remorse, because she was the “winner” of the town’s lottery. In “The Lottery” Jackson uses an interesting and unique approach to demonstrate the attributes of a male dominated society; as well as weave in religious symbolism along with the ultimate sacrifice of life.
Before the year 1848, most of America was dominated by the male population. The town in “The Lottery” is set in a more modern time than 1848; however, it appears to be completely run by the men. Jackson depicts the men of the town as being official and enterprising; talking of tractors and taxes. The women are portrayed as gossiping housewives wearing faded house dresses and sweaters. Tessie, one of the housewives, was late because she was home washing the dishes. She states to Mrs. Delacroix, “Clean forgot what day it was. Thought my old man was out back stacking wood,” she went on. “And then I looked out the window and the kids were gone, then I remembered it was the twenty-seventh.” She then proceeds to the front of the crowd to be with her husband. Several men, such as Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves play prominent roles in the story, but one man seems to be more outspoken than the rest. Mr. Warner follows a tradition that he has been ...


... middle of paper ...


... many traditions, both historically and modern, worldwide that most outsiders would consider crazy. Similar to Jackson’s story there are many regions of the world which an “honorable death” is a dark and corrupt tradition. In the Middle East, for example, devout Islamic fundamentalists practice an old tradition of killing women who stray from their religious requirements and obligations. This sacrifice is believed to restore religious honor to the woman’s soul and her father’s family. This event is unimaginable to most modern societies, but it is the tradition of honor within the fundamentalist faction of Islam. Based on Jackson’s story, I believe the characters looked at the ultimate sacrifice of death as honorable and necessary to fulfill this ritual. A ritual that will continue annually without hesitation…or, until Mr. Warner pulls the “winning” ticket!

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Necessary Sacrifice in The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson Essay

- When Shirley Jackson first published her short story “The Lottery,” it caused a great deal of controversy. It warranted high critical acclaim, but it also brought threats to Jackson’s life. The public was outraged that she would write such a violent story, which ended with the unmerciful killing of an innocent woman. The violence in response to the story ironically reflects the violence within, and reveals a darker, yet necessary, part of the human psyche. The characters in “The Lottery” require the violent ritual to live peaceful and happy lives....   [tags: The Lottery Essays]

Strong Essays
1164 words (3.3 pages)

Human Sacrifice vs. Ritual Murder in The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson Essay

- Imagine this; it is 9am, the sun is out and even though the children are playing , but before the day is done, someone will find themselves the winner of the lottery. However, it is not the lottery that most are familiar with. In 1988 author Judy Oppenheimer conducted an interview with author Shirley Jackson, the author of ' The Lottery' . In this interview Shirley explained why she wrote the short story in the following excerpt ; " I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village to shock the story's readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives " (Oppenheimer 1988...   [tags: The Lottery Essays]

Strong Essays
929 words (2.7 pages)

Sacrifice in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence

- The point of view of tradition in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is the normal once of year gathering on the townspeople. This gathering is held in order to pick, via a lottery drawing, to decide who in the town is going to be stoned to death. “The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock; in some towns there were so many people the lottery took two days and had started on June 26th, but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, and the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o’clock in morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.”...   [tags: Rocking Horse Winner, The Lottery]

Strong Essays
970 words (2.8 pages)

Inhumane Acts of Society Illustrated in Jackson's The Lottery Essay

- Shirley Jackson's “The Lottery” shows the reader that the human race will do any horrible act for success, in this case holding a town lottery where the winner is stoned to death in the towns square in hopes of a bountiful corn crop come during harvest time. The lottery is a tradition held in the town annually on June 27 and is done right as the corn is ready to become fruitful. Even in the day and age where technology is used for farming (tractors, plows) to till and harvest the land, this is a communal tradition that cannot be broken....   [tags: The Lottery]

Strong Essays
964 words (2.8 pages)

Essay about Analysis of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

- Analysis of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson was written in 1948. The story takes place in a village square of a town on June 27th. The author does not use much emotion in the writing to show how the barbaric act that is going on is look at as normal. This story is about a town that has a lottery once a year to choose who should be sacrificed, so that the town will have a plentiful year for growing crops. Jackson has many messages about human nature in this short story....   [tags: The Lottery Shirley Jackson Sacrifices Essays]

Strong Essays
696 words (2 pages)

Essay on Family and Tradition in The Lottery

- Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” published in 1948 takes place in a small village in New England. Upon first reading it would seem as though the lottery that took place in the village was a family friendly tradition that had been carried on for many years. However upon a closer look, it seems as if “family friendly” could be the wrong term to use to describe the lottery due to the nature of what takes place during this tradition. So, the question stands, is the lottery really a family friendly tradition in the village....   [tags: The Lottery Essays]

Strong Essays
1414 words (4 pages)

Essay on Dying the Death of a Martyr

- ... By stating this Holden reveals he appreaictes a martyr more than the beloved characters. Holden values a sacrice and devotion to your conviction over popular opinon. Holden admires Mercuitio and views him as honorable. Holden also views Allie as honorable (quote)…Holden also shows a deep respect and posses a positive view of James Castle. James Castle, was one of Holden’s classmates at Pencey. Regarding James Castale suicide Holden States……………….. Holden constantly carries around a burden of guilt about how children, in general, lose their innocence; this includes Allie....   [tags: honorable, sacrifice, devoted]

Strong Essays
1371 words (3.9 pages)

Essay about Analysis of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

- “The Lottery” is a short story by Shirley Jackson, first published on June 26, 1948. The story was initially met with negative critical reception due to its violent nature and portrayal of the potentially dangerous nature of human society. It was even banned in some countries. However, “The Lottery” is now widely accepted as a classic American short story and is used in classrooms throughout the country. Jackson’s story takes a critical look at what can result when the customs and laws that govern society go unchallenged....   [tags: The Lottery Essays]

Strong Essays
768 words (2.2 pages)

The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson Essay

- The Lottery is a short fiction written by Shirley Jackson. It is a story about a shocking tradition practiced by the people in certain town. Shirley ironically gives the lottery a bad meaning in her use of the word in this short story. In the story, the lottery is used for public stoning, contrary to what it originally means; winning a lot of money. The story focuses around a village during a ceremony they call the lottery which ensures there is enough rain for their crops. In the story, a number of literary devices are used by the author for example, irony, symbolism, foreshadowing, only to mention but a few....   [tags: The Lottery Essays]

Strong Essays
1084 words (3.1 pages)

Symbolism in Jackson's The Lottery Essay

- Lottery: A Terrifying Trip Symbols can be used to convey a special meaning to the reader by association, especially when a material object is used to represent something abstract. Throughout the years, American writers have been using their works as a way to describe society to their broad audiences. As time periods change, writers as well as readers change their view about society. Several factors affect how readers view society in a piece of literature. To get a better understanding of the society expressed in a piece of literature, one must consider not only the time period in which the work was written, but also the life of the author, the style in which the work was written, and...   [tags: The Lottery Essays]

Strong Essays
1043 words (3 pages)