The essay “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson is a grim story about a small village’s traditional lottery that is conducted every year. The story tells the disturbing tale of a town’s annual “lottery day” as the inhabitants gather to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to ensure a good harvest for the upcoming year.
At the lottery drawing, one individual is chosen by chance to be stoned to death by the villagers. Although the lottery is used for a seemingly benign purpose, it is clear throughout the story that the villagers are mired in a dull, stifling tradition that is darkly ironic and ultimately frightening.
The story seems to be a parable of how tradition can be oppressive, how quickly people can be swayed blindly by collective agreement, and how superstition, prejudice, and fear can override individual conscience and create horrific and seemingly indestructible social evil.
On the surface, the villagers appear to accept the lottery as a necessary evil that is needed to ensure a successful harvest. However, as the reader is presented with details of the lottery and its ceremony, the story’s themes of community violence, religious sacrifice, and unexamined tradition become more and more apparent.
The story suggests that tradition, when left unexamined and unchallenged, can be incredibly dangerous. Despite the fact that more humane forms of agricultural sacrifice and reverence of nature are available, the villagers of The Lottery remain contentedly entrenched in a ritual that is based on superstition and ritual rather than any real understanding of the natural world.
Much of the story’s power and horror lies in the fact that the characters remain wholly unaware of their unwitting participation in an evil act that violates their own moral codes.
What is the main message of The Lottery?
The main message of The Lottery is that tradition and cultural beliefs and practices can persist even if they no longer serve a purpose. Throughout the story, we see how the villagers, fearful of what might happen if they break away from their ritualistic Lottery – even though the Lottery no longer serves a practical purpose – continue to go through what has become an outdated tradition.
This suggests that, despite how times and circumstances may change, rituals such as these can remain ingrained in a culture, however old-fashioned or unfounded they may seem. This can also be seen as a statement on conforming to certain societal expectations, as even when it is made clear that the Lottery is pointless, the villagers still participate for fear of offending those around them or going against the unspoken rules of the town.
Ultimately, The Lottery serves as a warning to readers to be mindful of situations where traditions may no longer serve their original purpose and to critically analyze their cultural surroundings.
What are two 2 different types of conflict in The Lottery?
There are two different types of conflict in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson: man vs. society and man vs himself. In the story, the villagers are complicit in the annual lottery despite its cruel tradition of stoning to death a person chosen by chance.
This is an example of man vs. society conflict, as the individual is oppressed by a powerful societal structure. The second type of conflict, man vs. himself, is seen in the protagonist, Mr. Summers, who does not openly express his disagreement with the lottery tradition, instead he plays an active role in its execution.
He struggles internally with his own humanity, as he knows that the lottery is wrong and yet he still carries it out each year. Both of these conflicts are important in Jackson’s commentary on blind tradition and the power of group think.
How is family a theme in The Lottery?
Family is a major theme in Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery”. On a surface level, the story is about a lottery that happens in a small village and brings about a shocking conclusion. However, there is much more depth to it when we look at how family is a theme.
The first indication of family as a theme is the fact that there are two main characters in the story, Tessie Hutchinson and her husband Mr. Hutchinson. While Tessie is the one who ends up winning the lottery, there is a sense of fear still looming between the two of them throughout.
This fear is intensified by their children and other family members who seem to be in on the lottery’s purpose. By showing the fraught tension between Tessie and Mr. Hutchinson and their family, the story depicts the fear a person can feel when surrounded by those they are familiar with.
Additionally, the fact that the lottery lasts for most of the day clearly indicates that it is seen as an important tradition by the villagers. Most of the villagers have family members with them as they prepare for the lottery, which emphasizes to the audience that it is a family tradition.
This also foreshadows the eventual horrifying conclusion, as it signals to the reader that no one, even a family member of the villager, is exempt from the lottery’s consequences.
Ultimately, family is a powerful theme in “The Lottery”. It emphasizes the intense fear and tension between the villagers and their families, and demonstrates the unwavering belief in the lottery as a tradition.
It shows how close family ties can sometimes lead to consequences, and reveals how even those that are closest to us are not always blessed with luck.
Why did tessie get stoned in the lottery?
Tessie got stoned in the lottery because she had drawn the infamous “black dot,” which symbolized her selection as the person to be sacrificed. This was the ritual which the small village of approximately 300 people had been performing for years, which was believed to bring good luck and prosperity to the village.
Not everyone liked the ritual, but no-one had the courage to disrupt it, until Tessie stepped forward and was subsequently chosen. This act of bravery and dissent was an important moment for the village, and Tessie was ultimately stoned for her defiance and courage.
What does the black box symbolize in the lottery?
The black box symbolizes a sense of dread and uncertainty that surrounds the lottery in the short story. The narrator makes it clear that the lottery is a tradition that has been passed down for generations and is taken very seriously.
By using a black box to contain the slips of paper that contain the fateful names, it further emphasizes the menacing, luck-based nature of the lottery and serves as a reminder of the ultimate power that it holds over the lives of the villagers.
The black box also serves as a symbol of the tradition of the lottery and the permanency of it in the lives of those who are involved. Additionally, the black box is often seen as a metaphor for death and mortality, and can symbolize the randomness of death.
In this context, the black box symbolizes the lurking danger of death that the villagers face every day and illustrates how the lottery is a powerful and menacing force in their lives.
What does The Lottery story say about tradition?
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson reflects on the power of tradition, focusing on its ability to control people’s lives and compel them to follow a path they may not agree with or even understand. The story focuses in particular on the tradition of a village lottery where residents are required to take part and the winner gets a ‘prize’ of being stoned to death.
While the villagers seem intent on maintaining their tradition, no-one is sure of its purpose or origin. As the story progresses, the reader is exposed to the intensity of the tradition in the town and the collective acceptance of it.
It’s framed as a sign of how distant and disconnected individuals can become when blindly holding onto a tradition, even one with no clear purpose. The story ends with a powerful message about the danger of blindly adhering to tradition without questioning its motives and its effect on people’s lives.
What traditions do The Lottery represent?
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson serves as a parable for darker aspects of human nature. It has become a literary classic that is often discussed in classrooms and interpreted in a variety of ways. The story is set in an unnamed village in which villagers join together annually to participate in a lottery ritual.
The ritual is a representation of the consequences of conformity and the persistent power of tradition. Despite the fact that the lottery has no clear purpose and is considered an outdated tradition, villagers continue to participate.
This is a metaphor for how people can remain loyal to customs even if the cause is uncertain.
The lottery also serves to highlight the power of peer pressure and the dangers of blind obedience. This is seen when villagers refuse to speak out against the lottery despite its oppressive nature. Even those who express their dislike of the lottery participate anyway to avoid the disapproval of their neighbours.
Furthermore, The Lottery addresses the idea of fear of change which causes many people to maintain traditions without questioning them. This can be seen when some of the villagers express their distaste for the lottery, but do not get rid of it out of fear it will bring bad luck.
Overall, The Lottery effectively serves as a parable to demonstrate the dangers of conformity and the damaging nature of traditions that are held in place due to fear, peer pressure and force.