Traditions in The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson Essay

Traditions in The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson Essay

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Thesis: After a long period of time passes people forget the true meaning of their traditions by slowly disregarding as the years pass.

I. The first part of the traditional ritual that is changed is the chips of wood.

A. "Chips of wood, Mr. Summer's had argued, had been all very well when the village was tiny..."

B. It's perceived as though there is no regard to how the ancestors of this village put on the lottery.

II. The second part of the traditional ritual that is changed is the recital.

A. It is said that it was ."..performed by the official of the lottery, a perfunctory, tuneless chant that had been rattled off duly each year..."

B. . It's almost as if they heard of the tradition, took the stoning someone to death part, and then created the rest of the ritual themselves.

III. The third tradition that was changed in the village is the ritual salute.

A. The lottery official used this salute to address each person who came up to draw from the box.

B. The village people decide that eliminating the salute will also be beneficial.


The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson, revolves around a series of traditions that no one seems to follow anymore. This story begins by explaining how the lottery process works. It takes place on June 27 of every year. All the people of the village gather in the town's square- husbands, wives, and children. Each head of household pulls a small piece of paper out of a black box. All but one piece of paper will be blank. The piece with the black-penciled spot is the piece that will send someone in that family to death. After that piece of paper is pulled from the box the members of that family must draw. The member that pulls the spotted paper out gets stoned to ...

... middle of paper ...

...people decide that eliminating the salute will also be beneficial. It blatantly shows the loss of respect to the creator's of the tradition. All the people in this village are very self-involved and ignorant to their culture.

Overall, this story tells of the loss of tradition. Three very old and sacred parts of this tradition are eliminated or changed. It's disheartening to read this story and see how a society's culture is so damaged. After more years pass, it will be surprising to know if any part of this tradition is practiced or if it all just ends. Hopefully these villagers will one day understand the true meaning of tradition and practice the lottery the way it's suppose to be practiced.

Works Cited

The Lottery

Shirley Jackson

Page 328-334

Literature The Human Experience Shorter Eighth Edition

Richard Abcarian and Marvin Klotz

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