Examples Of Humanistic Obedience In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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According to Fromm, “Human history began with an act of disobedience, and it is not unlikely that it will be terminated by an act of obedience.” (362). Jackson’s short story gave examples of how humanistic conscience and obedience can affect people’s actions. Obedience in this short story is demonstrated on three different levels as well having an overall obedience to the tradition or belief they have as a community. The townspeople in “The Lottery” act the way they do because the lack of humanistic conscience. “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson is an uncanny short story about a tradition of the townspeople in a village. The story starts off describing the setting and how the young children are out playing making piles of rocks. The…show more content…
Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” gave a perfect example of this. A few people in the crowd knew what was taking place was wrong to do, but they didn’t speak up because of the obedience to the group. As when Mr. Adams was telling Old Man Warner how the villagers up north gave up the lottery. Even though they knew it was wrong, no one stopped to question what was going on and continued to participate in the ritual. “Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. "It isn't fair," she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, "Come on, come on, everyone." Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.” (Jackson 219.) In Jackson’s story she showed the three different levels of obedience as well as an overall obedience to the townspeople tradition. The three different levels of obedience in the story are between children and parents, between husbands and wives, and between the town officials and the villagers. The children in this story were completely unaware of the tradition, they knew nothing of what was completely going on besides what was told to them by their parents. “The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles” (Jackson 219.) They were just obedient to the orders of their parents. In “Group Minds” Lessing brought this kind

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