The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

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The Lottery Essay

Andrew Lansley once said “Peer pressure and social norms are powerful influences on behavior, and they are classic excuses.” Most people tend to follow cultural customs because they have grown with them or it has been forced onto them with factors such as parents or their environment. However, is it always right to follow these customs even if they are in fact considered wrong? Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is a short story about the cultural norms of a small community and its annual lottery ritual; a stoning. Jackson overthrows the story by making the lottery a corrupt occurrence rather than a victory. The reader would probably think that the “winner” of the lottery would be benefited but in this case the victory was not so delightful. In her short story “The Lottery” Jackson seemingly uses ordinary details about the setting and the townspeople to characterize her theme that although society claims to be civilized, and may appear so, it is inherently barbaric. Through her use of setting, which on the surface appears to be light-hearted and commonplace, Jackson masks and emphasizes the shock and horror of the story’s ending. Jackson first depicts a light and merry setting when she describes the day of the lottery. “The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.” By detailing the day in a bubbly way, Jackson veils the idea that nothing bad

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