The Powers of a Mob

593 WordsFeb 18, 20182 Pages
“All persons ought to endeavor to follow what is right and not what is established” said Aristotle. In Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” she explores this power idea of the mob mentality and how it creates pointless violence. The story takes place in a small ordinary village, but every year everyone in the town gathers to have the lottery. The lottery is a ritualistic murder of an innocent person in the town, even the women and children must take part. After the lottery is over the town goes back to normal, as if the lottery never happened. Jackson uses the mob mentality to show the readers the pointless violence in our lives. All throughout the story, the villagers fall captive to the effects of the mob mentally. Patrick Shields in his article "Arbitrary Condemnation And Sanctioned Violence in Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery” states “The crowd of townsfolk in Jackson’s story appears to be under a hypnotic spell of sorts.”(Shields 414) The town’s people just showing up to the lottery shows they agree to participate, and have succumb to the mob already. They are following tradition and are scared to break it. When Mr. Adams says "that over in the north village they're talking of giving up the lottery,"(Jackson) Old Man Warner the oldest person in town says back "Pack of crazy fools," he said. "Listening to the young folks, nothing's good enough for them. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work anymore, live that way for a
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