The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson Essay

744 Words 3 Pages
"The Lottery"

In "The Lottery" Shirley Jackson presents us with a shocking story guaranteed to outrage the reader. The author brings together the residents of a small village as they are gathered for an annual event referred to as the lottery. The families of the village are represented by their names on small pieces of paper, which are placed in a black box. The appointed townsperson oversees the drawing to determine who pulls the slip of paper that "wins" the drawing. The characters seem ordinary enough, and they appear to be pleasant mild people participating in an innocuous activity. There is a huge shock when the story turns violent. The peaceful village people are choosing which person in their community they are going to
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There is a whole population of people that defend players beating on each other in the middle of a sports competition, on the mindless basis that it has always been that way.

People often point to tradition as the defense of objectionable violence. A timely example is seen with our country poised on the brink of war. No one denies that the war will cause the death of many innocent people. While many people are divided in their feelings about the war most people would agree that they feel bad about causing the death of innocents. Yet in a defense of a probable attack, people are pointing to the historical tradition of war as a rationalization. Older people in particular will point out that we fought and killed people in the World Wars and Korea and even Vietnam and the rationale follows that if it was o.k. then, it is acceptable now. Old man Warner took refuge in historical tradition when his name was called in the lottery and he moved forward saying " seventy-seventh year I have been in the lottery, seventy seventh time"(81). The logic seems to be that because we have done something a certain way in the past that correctly determines how we should act in the future.

A continuation of blind adherence to tradition can be found in many college and university rituals. The longstanding tradition of pledging in a fraternity often involves activities that result in injuries and deaths. There are many
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