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.
In some ways, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson could be seen as controversial. Within the first paragraph, we are left with two main questions; “what is the lottery?” and “why does it happen?” A major theme that answers the first question is all about tradition. Yes, the lottery is a tradition in many towns. No one has ever questioned this tradition, even though it is quite inhumane. In all honesty, you could compare this story very well to The Hunger Games just because of what this tradition consists of. Imagine being in a town of around three hundred people and having your life put on the line. The lottery itself comes down to all of the townspeople meeting up, and each family name is read by Mr. Summers, and the head of the family
In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, There is an annual lottery game in this village on June 27th of every year, this lottery is a ritual that has been in the village for long since, everyone in the village would gather at the time square to participate in it. Mr.Sumner, the lottery official will then brings out the black box and declared the lottery open and states all the rules, “Now, I’ll read the names--heads of families first--and the men com out and take a paper out of the box. Keep the paper folded in your hand without looking at it until everyone has had a turn. Everything clear?” (BBR 93). One of this papers will have a black spot that is put on by the coal company owner, whoever gets the spotted paper with the black dot wins the lottery and will be stoned to death.
The author of “The Lottery” Shirley Jackson decided it was important to write this short story in order to inform the readers about another dimension, where a certain common tradition gets prized with something obscure. Some readers can be shocked when reading this story, because they might be surprised and even shocked with the themes that play along in the storyline. This short story “The Lottery” was so controversial at the time, because in the date it was published in June 24, 1948 there were so many themes from the stories that could relate to past events or even event that were taking place at the time.
“The Lottery” was written in 1948 by Shirley Jackson. Mrs. Jackson, born in 1916, was known for her tales of horror and supernatural novels. She and her literary critic husband, Stanley Edgar Hyman lived in a little town called Bennington, Vermont. Mrs. Jackson was not accepted by the town. Her novels, especially “The Lottery”, revealed the dark side of human nature. Stephen King honored Shirley Jackson by dedicating his book Firestarter to her.
I believe that the people in the story continue this gruesome tradition every year because they believe the sacrificing of a human being for the crops to grow and they’ve become deceptive of the tradition. On page 26 it states, “Soon the men began to gather, surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes.” Based on this sentence we can infer that the men’s speaking of planting, rain, and tractors that these villagers are probably farmers. In the story old man Warner also quotes, “Used to be a saying about 'Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.' First thing you know, we'd all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There's always been a lottery.” It clearly states that they believed if the lottery happened in June
“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson artfully uses foreshadowing in order to build suspense and create a shocking ending. Jackson’s success in “The Lottery” comes from her ability to keep the reader in the dark about the evils, until the very end. She has masterfully set up what the reader believes as a pleasant event. But, it is not until the ending, can the reader see the foreshadowing of the evils to come. Through the use of foreshadowing, Jackson is able to contribute to the story 's overall effect of suspense and a shocking ending.
b. Background In the short story “The Lottery,” the inhabitants of a village participate in a lottery, which is essentially a tradition for them. However, the villagers are oblivious to the true consequences and destructiveness of their death ritual. One June day each year, the lottery is conducted and the “winner” is violently stoned to death. The very same day, the villagers return home and carry on with their normal day-to-day functions.
The Black Box in the short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson signifies the physical connection between the villagers and their unwillingness to give up their tradition. “The Lottery” is very unpredictable and quite misleading. The black box has no functionality, except every June 27th. Shirley Jackson depicts the black box as an important and traditional tool.
In “The Lottery”, the population attends the annual lottery in the town square. Heads of households (men) are to choose a piece of paper from a black box when their last name is called. “‘Now, I’ll read the names--heads of families first--and the men come up and take a paper out of the box.’” (Jackson). If they choose the piece of paper with a black dot, the head of household puts his paper back into the box and the family members proceed to draw pieces of paper. The one producing
The Lottery, a ritual that no one has ever thought to question, which represents any action, behavior, or idea that is passed down from one generation to the next that’s accepted and followed unquestioningly, no matter how illogical, strange, or cruel. “The oldest denizen of the town, Old Man Warner, points out that this is his seventy-seventh year participating in the ritual, called simply the lottery.”(Dubose 1) The “Lottery” is so much a part of the town’s culture, that the townspeople does not truly know what the tradition means but rejoice at the it nonetheless. That is the force that drove the theme In Shirley Jackson’s the “Lottery” with her use of setting, symbolism, suspense, and characters as she exemplifies blindly following tradition with obedience can be dangerous. The lottery is an extreme example of what can happen when traditions are not questioned or addressed critically by new generations because of the infamous word tradition.
In Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” explained how in a small town, which consist of many people, holds an annual lottery where here all families would come together and pull slips of paper to determine who would get “stoned”. During the lottery the people are gathered where the head of the household is called to come up and receive a slip of paper, that is pulled from a black box which holds a lot of tradition. One of the main characters arrives late to lottery claiming she forgot what day it was, and as the lottery concludes the news spills amongst the town that her husband has the slip with the black dot. As the family argues that the lottery is unfair, the result from the lottery is that the woman of the family gets stoned to death. Shirley Jackson uses irony in the
In "The Lottery" Shirley Jackson fills her story with many literary elements to mask the evil. The story demonstrates how it is in human nature to blindly follow traditions. Even though some people have no idea why they follow these traditions.
Family basically defines how the lottery takes place. The man of each household must select a piece of paper, and if he selects the paper marked with a black dot, his family must select pieces of paper, which in the end determines the victim of the Lottery. If the man doesn't receive the marked slip, his entire family can breathe again, knowing that their family is safe. The Lottery has become such a standard event in the village that no one thinks of questioning it. Anyone who does is singled out as an outcast, as was Tessie Hutchinson when she argued that the Lottery was an unfair process. "Suddenly, Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers. 'You didn't give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn't fair!'" Right then, the entire town singles her out. They have been practicing the tradition of the lottery for so long that any thought of questioning it seems absurd to them. They all shout at Tessie: "'Be a good sport, Tessie.' Mrs. Delacroix called, and Mrs. Graves said, 'All of us took the same chance.'" Even Bill, her husband, shouts at her to
In “The Lottery” Shirley Jackson writes about the game lottery, which makes the story very ironic. Unlike all of the other Lottery games, in this traditional version no one wants to be chosen, because that brings them the end of their life. Jackson explains how keeping up with some traditions that are part of people’s life, may not be the best choice to embrace a particular culture. Jackson uses the Lottery as an example to express her idea about the ethical issues such as; violent murder, harming people, forcefully following a tradition, and lying. All of these ethical issues are created by blindly following tradition in “The Lottery.”