The Lottery Analysis

802 Words4 Pages
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Tradition; it is the foundation of every culture and civilization. It is what keeps the beliefs, philosophies, and activities of societies alive so that they can pass down from generation to generation. Yet, some do not practice all traditions with pure intentions. Some activities become so habitual, people don’t know a life outside of them. Societies become so accustomed to “tradition” that they will take part in it without questioning the morality of the situation. When tradition takes the place of a rationalizing mind the outcome can be dangerous. In “The Lottery”, Jackson is hinting to the underlying dispute of whether to follow customs or not. She is also indicating how fear of the consequences of their actions hinder the responses of defiance from the community. Nervous cadences of voices, shuffling of feet and whispers when speech is appropriate suggest inner turmoil. Shirley also uses symbolic names to give her story more significance. ‘Mr. Graves’, the postmaster, signifies the impression of death. ‘Old Man Warner’ portrays the voice of the past, warning the citizens of the town that resisting tradition will have consequences. Jackson also writes, "some places have already quit lotteries" to which Old Man Warner replies, “nothing but trouble in that, pack of young fools. (4)" Not only does this show the pressure of society, it also shows the effect their own community has on their decisions between right and wrong. The village

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