In Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery”, she demonstrates how a small town uses religious traditions that are cruel and unusual but are part of their culture.
Jackson lets us know the time of the lottery at the outset of the story. From the description of the men’s talk of “tractors and taxes” and the depiction of Mr. Summers wearing a “clean white shirt and blue jeans”, we may assume that we are in the twentieth century, making the story’s impact more immediate. (Yarmove 242)
The story takes place in a small town containing only 200 villagers who have an unusual religious custom. In her story, the “lottery” is a time of two hours every June, where everyone from the town gathers to decide the expelling of an outsider to reinforce beliefs. Jackson’s story uses multiple symbols that show how religious aspects connect to the ritual. Along with multiple themes, the narration of the story gives us a good overview of how the ritual unfolds rather than using characters thoughts or feelings. "’The Lottery" first appeared in The New Yorker in 1948. Subsequently, distraught readers--uncomfortable with the idea of a relatively modern culture committing such a heinous act--questioned Jackson 's intentions.” (Griffin 45)
The first line of the story makes the reader take on a whole different view than the end. I personally like this because it gives a little confusion. The first line says, “The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green” (Jackson 1). Jackson starts it out this way to set a plot that is happy and normal, which I believe she uses to symbolize how c...
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... It may seem like a happy social lottery event until it takes a cruel ending. But the story serves has an example of things that can be going on today in modern civilizations.
The hazards of today 's world are less and less the sport of nature or the gods; rather, as in Jackson 's story, our lotteries are public affairs, staged in the form of
gigantic production, marketing, and consumption games. The stakes are
the benefits and risks of our culture 's paraphernalia: guns, tobacco, alcohol
and other drugs, pesticides, automobiles, motorcycles, dangerous work
places, chemically contaminated foodstuffs. (Lottery Justice 201)
With the use of many symbols, metaphors and themes that are very evident. The story symbolizes traditions like some of the ones we have today. With the emphasis on religion connecting to tradition, the Lottery is a hard hitting and mysterious story.
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