Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" satirizes barbaric traditions in a supposedly civilized village. As the story begins, the villagers appear to be fairly civilized and carry on fairly modern lifestyles. This is assumed by the men's discussion of planting, rain, tractors, and taxes. The lottery was outdated to such a degree that some may think that the tradition is primal competition of anthropoid beasts. On the other hand, some think that carrying on the tradition was necessary. The question that must be answered is: Was this a barbaric tradition or was this ritual an honest attempt to better other villager's lives?
Shortly after the publication of "The Lottery" in The New Yorker, "a flood of mail - hundreds of letters-deluged both the editorial offices in New York and the post office in Bennington" (Friedman 63). Miss Jackson said that out of all the letters sent, there were only thirteen that were positive responses, and those were from her friends (63). The letters consisted of "bewilderment, speculation, and old-fashioned abuse" (63). It is obvious that the initial reaction from the public was extremely negative. The readers perceived the story as a satire on them, as if they practiced barbaric ways.
Indeed there are countless references, hints, and blatant comments that refer to the barbaric theme in this story. The fact that the lottery itself is scheduled for 10:00 and it took only two hours, conveniently timed so that the villagers could get back home to eat lunch, shows that there is no concern for the "winner" of the lottery, only for themselves. The children collect stones, competing against the other children, and keeping friends from stealing from their ...
... middle of paper ...
...Although we are a modernized society, there are those primal animal-like instincts that still lurk inside every one of us. After exploring the barbaric theme in "The Lottery," it is evident that Shirley Jackson did intend to portray barbaric aspects of stoning people in order to have an abundant crop outcome to show to the reader that these barbaric actions happen today.
Coulthard, A. R. "Jackson's 'The Lottery' " The Explicator 48: 226-228.
Friedman, Lenemaja. Shirley Jackson. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1975.
Jackson, Shirley. "The Lottery." Modern Short Stories. Ed. Robert B. Heilman. Westport: Greenwood, 1971. 375-85.
Magill, Frank N. "Shirley Jackson." Critical Survey of Short Fiction. Salem Press, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. 1981. 1668-1674.
Nebeker, Helen C. 'The Lottery': Symbolic Tour de Force." American Literature 46 March 1974.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In our society we have many traditions. These traditions all have certain meanings behind them; however, many of those meanings tend to be lost or forgotten. The holiday of Thanksgiving was originally a celebration to commemorate the arrival of the pilgrims in the new world and their first interactions with the Native Americans. So then why is it still celebrated today. There is no actual purpose in today’s society to observe this custom. It has just continued to be observed because of past traditions. There is no logical reason to continue this fête, as it holds little or no value. With the passage of time the actual reasons have been lost or distorted, such as in the case of Shirley Ja... [tags: Essays on The Lottery 2014]
1160 words (3.3 pages)
- "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson: Cruelty or Human Nature. Shirley Jackson, the author of the short story, "The Lottery", is the daughter of Beatrice and George Jackson. Jackson was born on August 5th, in 1946. Some background on Jackson is that she graduated college with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ("Shirley Ann Jackson") Jackson had many accomplishments in her lifetime. She received many awards, metals, and honors. Jackson was appointed to chair the U.S.... [tags: The Lottery Essays]
1815 words (5.2 pages)
- Why would a civilized and peaceful town would ever suggest the horrifying acts of violence can take place anywhere at anytime and the most ordinary people can commit them. Jackson's fiction is noted for exploring incongruities in everyday life, and “The Lottery”, perhaps her most exemplary work in this respect, examines humanity's capacity for evil within a contemporary, familiar, American setting. Noting that the story’s characters, physical environment, and even its climactic action lacks significant individuating detail, most critics view “The Lottery.” As a modern-day parable or fable, which obliquely addresses a variety of themes, including the dark side of human nature, the dange... [tags: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson]
906 words (2.6 pages)
- Once upon a time there was a little village. In this village three hundred people happily farmed and played and went about their business. The children went to school while the men cut wood or farmed, and the women cooked and cleaned. Every summer in June each of villagers took part in the traditional lottery drawing and one villager was picked for the prize – a stoning. In 1948, Shirley Jackson published this short story known as “The Lottery,” in The New York Times. The story’s plot shocked readers all over America as they learned of the horror happening in such a quaint town.... [tags: The Lottery Essays]
1366 words (3.9 pages)
- ... Old Man Warner said, “[…], ‘Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon, […]’,” he believes that sacrifice one of his neighbors is going to bring him and his villagers corn and ample crops. The other thing he said is, “’Seventy-seventh year I been in the lottery’,” that means seventy-seven people have been slayed by him since he became eighteen years old. Eventually, he and villagers become complacent about this tradition. Just like in Christmas, there’s always been a Christmas. People celebrate Christmas every year since he sacrificed himself for people’s sin and they celebrate this tradition to remember Jesus Christ’s birth.... [tags: The Lottery, Stoning, Jesus, Christ]
810 words (2.3 pages)
- ... No matter how hard you try to fight back, there is no chance because the bully picks on the weak that cant fight back. Not only they fight with remarkable strength, most of the time they find in numbers. The bully would gather with his other friends that are bullies to over power their victim even more; they would make you powerless that you cant fight back and have fear implanted into your heart and mind. Thus making you weak, oppressed, threatened and vulnerable. Power dominance is a key component in bullying and in lottery because one side is being dominated by the other side.... [tags: power, cruelty, fear]
900 words (2.6 pages)
- Shirley Jackson’s famous short story, “The Lottery,” was published in 1948 and remains to this day one of the most enduring and affecting American works in the literary canon. “The Lottery” tells the story of a farming community that holds a ritualistic lottery among its citizens each year. Although the text initially presents audiences with a close-knit community participating in a social event together on a special day, the shocking twist at the work’s end—with the death of the lottery’s “winner” by public stoning—has led to its widespread popularity, public outcry and discussion, and continued examination in modern times (Jackson).... [tags: Shirley Jackson Lottery 2014]
4600 words (13.1 pages)
- Foreshadowing in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery "The Lottery," a short story written by Shirley Jackson, is a tale about a disturbing social practice. The setting takes place in a small village consisting of about three hundred denizens. On June twenty-seventh of every year, the members of this traditional community hold a village-wide lottery in which everyone is expected to participate. Throughout the story, the reader gets an odd feeling regarding the residents and their annual practice. Not until the end does he or she gets to know what the lottery is about. Thus, from the beginning of the story until almost the end, there is an overwhelming sense that something terrible is... [tags: Shirley Jackson Lottery Essays]
1142 words (3.3 pages)
- Morals and Values in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson In Shirley Jackson's, "The Lottery", human morals and values are thrown away all for the pride of winning something. What is it that they really win. When you win the lottery in this story, you actually win death by stoning. Isn't that ironic, people actually being competitive and getting excited about death in public. What morals or values do these people really have, and how are they different from what common society is thought today. The first to gather in the square on the day of the lottery are the children.... [tags: The Lottery, Shirley Jackson]
568 words (1.6 pages)
- The Use of Symbolism in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson In "The Lottery," Shirley Jackson uses symbolism to make us aware of the pointless nature of humanity regarding tradition and violence. The story starts off on a beautiful summer day in a small town. The author describes the day as very euphoric but strikes a contrast between the atmosphere of the town and the atmosphere of the people gathered in the square. The atmosphere is subdued, where the children are "gathered around quietly." The black box is the central theme or idea in the story.... [tags: Lottery Shirley Jackson Essays Papers]
1179 words (3.4 pages)