The Lottery Tradition Analysis

Decent Essays

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, to be passed down from generation to generation. However not all traditions are practiced 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 participate in pastimes without questioning the ethics or morals of the situation. Ultimately when tradition takes the place of a rationalizing mind the outcome can be incredibly dangerous.
In “The Lottery”, Jackson is hinting to the underlying dispute of whether to follow customs or not. She is also indicating how responses of defiance are hindered because of fear for the consequences of their actions. Indications of inner turmoil are suggested by the actions of the characters: nervous cadences of voices, dragging of feet, whispers when normal speech would be appropriate. 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 disastrous 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

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