Shirley Jackson's The Lottery Essay

1165 Words5 Pages
“The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it” (Twain). The Lottery begins during the summer. A small, seemingly normal, town is gathering to throw the annual “Lottery”. In the end, the townspeople—children included—gather around and stone the winner to death, simply because it was tradition. The story reveals how traditions can become outdated and ineffective. “I suppose, I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village to shock the story's readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives” (Jackson). As humans develop as a race, their practices should develop with them. Shirley Jackson develops the…show more content…
The box is very similar to traditions. They both grow old. Each year it becomes more useless, and deteriorates with time. The next symbol in “The Lottery” are the stones used to murder Tessie. They symbolize murder. “Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use the stones” (Jackson). The stones were used by the ancestors, who were more barbaric the further back they go. “Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones” (Jackson). In the lottery, the children participate in the murder. They even select the smooth stones, which will cause a slower, more painful death. Although they are living in a seemingly sophisticated period in time, they still commit this barbaric action for no other reason than because it is tradition, and they see no wrong in doing so. They will blindly follow the tradition just as their parents had, and they will pass the tradition off to their children. “Mob psychology rules their actions. Though they appear to be sane, sensible individuals, when the time of the lottery comes, they abandon their rational nature and revert to the instincts of the herd” (Mazzeno). A stoning is a crowd generated death. By using stones for the
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