The Lottery, By Shirley Jackson Essay

The Lottery, By Shirley Jackson Essay

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Tradition in “The Lottery”
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you were sentenced, then stoned to death? Justice would prevail in your name, or at the very least it should. For some, Shirley Jackson was not far from the truth when she wrote “The Lottery.”(133) The publication gained her recognition, and despite the fact the story brought her notoriety, it was ridiculed, conceivably by those reflected in the shocking world of “The Lottery” (133). The readers found the story distasteful, but one must wonder whether truth was forged within the fictional tale. Often times People’s tradition becomes flawed when customs are institutionalized, doctrine is not questioned, and protocols are skewed. Although offensive, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”(133), has illustrated a probable flaw in tradition, because people have the tendency to follow by way of disregarding protocol, trusting in what they believe to be doctrine and institutionalizing custom.
Protocol is described as, “a system of rules that explain the correct conduct and procedures to be followed in formal situations” (298651). “The Lottery” (133) lacks formality when faced with protocol. Throughout the story, it is mentioned that the proceedings of the lottery had been either “forgotten or discarded” (Jackson 134). Even the customary ways of holding the lottery had been altered.
“Once, there had been a recital performed by an official, a perfunctory, tuneless chant that been rattled off duly each year; some believed the official of the lottery used to stand just so when he said/sang it, others believed he was supposed to walk among the people, but years and years ago this part of the ritual had been allowed to lapse” (134).
This was done conceivably to expedite the a...


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...gh time, doctrine was lost and forgotten, protocols were tossed aside for self-serving reasons; none of which was to aid in the salvation of life. The same can be said about many traditions in our society, though not to go as far to say tradition does not change for the better. In fact, many traditions in our society have changed, from negative to positive, often time concealing the horrific nature behind the tradition and only focusing on the good. Granting all this, there remains a distinctive flaw in tradition. If holding truth to custom translates as something distasteful, perhaps it would be best to allow that custom to die out completely. While Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” (133), came off as disrespectful to many, one thing remains evident, tradition can be used as a device of sovereignty, by removing protocols, losing doctrine and institutionalizing custom.

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