Humanity And Inhumanity In The Lottery, By Shirley Jackson

778 WordsOct 9, 20174 Pages
Winning isn’t always what it seems. Hearing the word “lottery” usually develops a positive connotation in the mind of the reader, associating it with pleasure, good fortune and happiness; however, in “The Lottery,” the winner is rewarded by being brutally stoned by her neighbors and believed friends. “The Lottery,” written by Shirley Jackson in 1948, highlights how complacently our society reacts to the pointless brutality and inhumanity towards others. To demonstrate this, Jackson examines social constructs, women’s place and how instead focusing too strongly on strict traditions, we need to reexamine these rituals to determine their necessity and if they are still beneficial to society. Jackson uses seemingly ordinary details about…show more content…
Tess’s tone in her last words before being stoned is desperate and hysterical, because she knows that her protests will not result in anything but death. The black box used in the lottery each year isn’t something that the reader would usually associate with a happy lottery. The box is described as, “shabby…splintered…faded and stained,” yet no one in the community wants to replace it because, “no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box.” The color black symbolizes the savage and evil nature of the lottery as well as the townspeople’s participation in it and the shabbiness of the box indicates how outdated the tradition truly is. Like the lottery, the box is well worn with its real purpose lost, and the townspeople are extremely reluctant in letting it go, even getting defensive when the idea of it is brought up. After the stoning of the “winner” occurs, the townspeople go on with their lives as if nothing out of the ordinary has happened. The lottery takes less than two hours so that the townspeople could, “…get home for noon dinner,” immediately following the execution. The normalcy of the lottery to the townspeople is horrifying and all throughout the story everyone seems ok with this evil tradition, children are shown laughing and their parents, gossiping and talking about work. When Tess Hutchinson chooses the paper slip with a black dot making her the “winner”, Bill Hutchinson, her husband, as
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