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Summary Of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

Decent Essays
In the short story The Lottery (1948), Shirley Jackson asserts that tradition and obedience inevitably triumph over fundamental ethics and morality. The exposition takes place in a small American town with a population of three hundred villagers all gathering together on a pleasant, sunny day for the lottery—a tradition that had been implemented for decades. Although Jackson reveals little details about the lottery, the overarching tension portrayed through the characters’ subtle actions cannot be neglected. While young children were enthralled and oblivious to their surroundings, the adults, in contrast, were reserved and cautious—hinting towards the menacing atmosphere surrounding the lottery. The citizens’ reluctance when Mr. Summers, the conductor of the lottery, requested for a hand in setting up the black lottery box further alludes to the fact that the lottery possesses alternate meanings. Jackson also intentionally calls attention to the various alterations of the lottery from its initial procedure: the original lottery apparatus replaced by a wooden box, the wooden chips inside the device substituted by slips of paper, and the official salute to each of the citizens eradicated entirely. Despite these modifications, however, the guidelines of the cryptic lottery still remains intact and unaffected. While each head of the household draws a slip of paper from the box for his family’s fate, a man on the side discloses that neighboring villages are giving up on the
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