Shirley Jackson 's The Lottery

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In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, we observe a community that is absorbed in their rituals and traditions. In this society, they feel bound to their traditions and are even willing to abandon some of humanity’s deepest morals. The basic question of right and wrong is presented as our morals are disregarded in Jackson’s tradition based society. Their past is what they look towards when regarding their future. This community feels tied to their fading tradition and refuses to evolve even when everyone around them is. Consequently, they have become numb to the acts they commit countless times. Every generation is ingrained with these ideals and are expected to never waver from them. The wooden box has been in existence for as longer…show more content…
Compared to the rest of the community he seems higher in the hierarchy and more clean cut. He is professional during the entire course of the lottery and even more so when Mrs. Hutchison is the one about to be stoned. The people stoning Mrs. Hutchison are not only symbolic of religion, but the community’s connection to this act of murder. Stoning is prevalent throughout the history of Christianity. The stones are used to represent an ancestral way of committing murder or expelling someone. This further reinforces just how dependent this community is on their past. In the stoning, everyone is encouraged to participate from young to old as “someone gave little Davy Hutchison few pebbles” (Jackson 7). From a young age, these people are taught that their tradition is morally acceptable and absolutely necessary. Through the act of stoning, killing someone becomes a group effort and therefore no single person can take on the blame. Their morals can be more subdued if there is less for them to feel guilty towards. With this in mind, no one is observed refraining from stoning Mrs. Hutchison. However, with the huge crowd, they could likely decide against it and no one would be aware.
Mrs. Hutchison herself is a symbol of this ingrained tradition and how the community has refused to evolve. Her first acts of rebellion are arriving late to the event and displaying an attitude as she grabs her paper. Towards the end, we see her becoming more
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