The Evil of Mankind in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

638 Words2 Pages
On the outside, the average human being appears to be kind and friendly, but beneath that shell lies the true characteristics of man. Buried beneath that put on act there is an evil that lies within. This evil is unmasked by the qualities of pride and selfishness. No matter the being, everybody is selfish in his or her own way and concerned mostly with his or her own well-being. This can result in searching for a scapegoat when things turn bad. In Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery,” these characteristics of the evil tendency, selfishness, and scapegoating prevail, revealing to the world the dark nature of mankind.

One might expect a small village to have the qualities of friendliness, generosity, and charitable events. In this account, Shirley Jackson puts an unforeseen plot twist on this prospective. The author describes a pleasant summer day where people gather for annual event. However, the actions of the townspeople soon show the evil tendencies of humanity. What seemingly begins as a random drawing quickly turns into a barbaric stoning of an innocent woman. This is evident when “the lottery’s victim is revealed,” [and] …the black dot on the lottery slip” becomes a mark of death (Kosenko 261). Mrs. Delacroix in particular, gives clear signals that she means business when she “selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. ‘Come on,’ she said. ‘Hurry up.’ ” (Jackson 7). This specific occurrence and others
Open Document