struck a nerve with readers. “The story was incendiary; readers acted as if a bomb had blown up
in their faces . . . Shirley struck a nerve in mid-twentieth-century America . . . She had told
people a painful truth about themselves” (Oppenheimer 129). Interestingly, the story strikes that
same nerve with readers today. When my English class recently viewed the video, those students
who had not previously read the story reacted quite strongly to the ending. I recall this same
reaction when I was in high school. Our English teacher chose to show the video before any
student had read the story. Almost every student in the class reacted with horror at the ending.
Why do people react so strongly when they read the story or see the video? What is it about “The
Lottery” that is so disturbing? To understand, one must examine the very nature of humankind.
Man’s propensity for violence has been around since Cain killed Abel. In the Old
Testament, the Bible speaks frequently of wars and killing. “And it came to pass . . . that all
Israel returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword. And all that fell that day, both of
men and women, were twelve thousand” (Josh. 8.24-25). The ancient Romans were known for
their bloodlust. “The ancient Romans loved gladiators. They loved the men, the weapons, the
fighting and the bloodshed. They also loved the death” (Baker 2). While most people today
would be horrified by “what the historian Michael Grant has called ‘the nastiest blood-sport ever
invented’ [it] was much loved in ancient Rome” (Baker 3). It is also well known that over the
years, various cultures have practi...
... middle of paper ...
Garcia, Stephen M., et al. “Crowded Minds: The Implicit Bystander Effect.” Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology 83.4 2002: 843-53. PsycArticles EBSCO. Web. 25
Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed.
X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 10th ed. New York: Longman, 2007. 247-52. Print.
Nebeker, Helen E. “The Lottery: Symbolic Tour de Force.” American Literature 46.1 1974: 1007.
Academic Search Complete EBSCO. Web. 23 Apr. 2011.
Oppenheimer, Judy. Private Demons: The Life of Shirley Jackson. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1988. Print.
The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text. Jewish Publications Society of America,
Yarmove, Jay A. “Jackson’s The Lottery.” Explicator 52.4 1994: 242-45. MAS Ultra -School
Edition EBSCO. Web. 26 Apr. 2011.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The author of “The Lottery” wrote this story “to shock the story’s readers with a graphic demonstration of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives” (Jackson 211). This story reflects human behavior in society to show how although rules, laws or traditions do not make sense, people follow them. Throughout the story the three main symbols of how people blindly follow senseless traditions were the lottery itself, the color black, and the hesitation that people had towards the prize.... [tags: Shirley Jackson Lottery 2014]
1070 words (3.1 pages)
- Blind Obedience Exposed in The Lottery The annual ritualistic stoning of a villager in Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" parallels tradition in American culture. This paper will inform the reader of the effect tradition has on characters in the short story "The Lottery" and how traditions still strongly influence people's lives in america. Christian weddings hold many traditions and superstitions that seemingly defy logic. Although most couples no longer have arranged marriages or dowries, fathers still give their daughters away during the services. The bride and groom do not see each other before the ceremony, fearing that bad luck might come their way. A friend scolde... [tags: Shirley Jackson Lottery Essays]
938 words (2.7 pages)
- Dangers of Blind Obedience Exposed in The Lottery Most of us obey every day without a thought. People follow company dress code, state and federal laws and the assumed rules of courtesy. Those who do disobey are usually frowned upon or possibly even reprimanded. But has it even occurred to you that in some cases, disobedience may be the better course to choose. In her speech "Group Minds," Doris Lessing discusses these dangers of obedience, which are demonstrated in Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery." In "The Lottery," the villagers portray Lessing's observation that "it is the hardest thing in the world to maintain an individual dissident opinion, as a member of a... [tags: Shirley Jackson Lottery Essays]
679 words (1.9 pages)
- Shirley Jackson’s short story was not an ordinary lottery as I thought. Many people would think that “The Lottery” was something dealing with winning money of some sort but, in this town, it was the complete opposite. The small town consisted of only 300 people who engaged in a traditional gathering which was called “The Lottery”. During the lottery papers were placed in a very old black box, the box was as old as the oldest man in town Old Man Warner. (305) Mr. Summers would stir up the paper inside for everyone to choose if you received a paper with a black dot the person will get stoned to death.... [tags: The Lottery, Shirley Jackson, Stoning]
722 words (2.1 pages)
- As the story of “The Lottery” comes to an end, readers are left with a shocking reaction. Shirley Jackson’s Characters continuously participate in a lottery, where the reasoning for it has been forgotten. Throughout Shirley Jacksons Story of “The Lottery” readers can see how conformity can bring out the evilness in human nature, by characters continuing a tradition regardless of immorality. Throughout the story of the lottery the villagers all conform to a tradition where they no longer remember the reasoning for participating.... [tags: The Lottery, Short story, Shirley Jackson]
1042 words (3 pages)
- The limits of obedience to authority is an overall good idea and. In the short story, “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson, supports the thought that blind obedience will only lead to bad things. Authority does not have to be a person; it can be an item or belief. Obedience to authority can lead to the destruction of that group and groups should never blindly follow anything, especially when they feel as if it is wrong. Obedience should be regulated and only occur when the demand of authority is rational and reasonable.... [tags: Short story, The Lottery, Shirley Jackson]
1233 words (3.5 pages)
- Shirley Jackson’s renowned short story “The Lottery” is one of the most recognized short stories today as it draws people in due to the work’s unexpected ending. Centered in a small, unnamed town, “The Lottery” follows the townspeople throughout their annual lottery process that is performed with the same level of regard as the school dances. Throughout the story the ‘prize’ of the lottery is not revealed until the moment in the story’s conclusion in which the protagonist, Tessie Hutchinson, is hit in the head with the first of many rocks after drawing the marked slip of paper revealing that to win the lottery is to be stoned by the community (Jackson 673-679).... [tags: Short story, The Lottery, Shirley Jackson]
2047 words (5.8 pages)
- The Shock of the novel The Lottery by Shirley Jackson The first time I read “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, I thought it would be about someone in a desperate situation who wins a large amount of money. However, after reading the story I was shocked and disgusted like millions of other readers because of what the “lottery” was all about. After my shock wore off I thought about why the author had chosen to be so cynical. It occurred to me that she needed to shock people into changing for the better.... [tags: The Lottery Shirley Jackson Literature Essays]
540 words (1.5 pages)
- Individuality versus Community in The Lottery The works of Shirley Jackson tend to the macabre because she typically unveils the hidden side of human nature in her short stories and novels. She typically explores the darker side of human nature. Her themes are wide-ranging and border on the surreal though they usually portray everyday, ordinary people. Her endings are often not a resolution but rather a question pertaining to society and individuality that the reader must ask himself or herself. Jackson's normal characters often are in possession of an abnormal psyche. Children are portrayed as blank slates ready to learn the ways of the world from society. However, adults have a... [tags: Shirley Jackson Lottery Essays]
1732 words (4.9 pages)
- The Lottery is a short story about a town who still participates in the annual "Lottery" drawing. Everyone is laughing and conversing like any other day. Children and adults alike are collecting stones. At last the time comes for the drawing and Mr. Summers pulls out the black box with the papers in it. The head of the household, the men, all must pull out a piece of paper. The townsfolk talk about how the lottery is done for in nearby towns but others such as Old Man Warner scoff at the idea and say that is not possible young people don't know what they are talking about, the lottery will continue in this town.... [tags: The Lottery Essays]
486 words (1.4 pages)
- Comparing Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and O. Henry’s "A Municipal Report"
- Blind Obedience in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery
- Names in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery
- Importance of Setting in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery
- Truth and Art: Keats's Ode on a Grecian Urn
- Character Analysis of the Elder Mrs. Winning of Flower Garden