This is a book report on Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." This essay analyses the author's style while discussing humanity's need for tradition.

Essay by shroomybugCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 2003

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The Lottery

Why is tradition held so dear in the hearts of the human race? Is it the meaning of that specific ritual, or is it the comfort of participating in that activity to make them feel as though change does not have to occur? Maybe people have issues with change. Can the threat of change cause people to do things that normally they would object to? In Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery", it is apparent that the need for normalcy causes presumably sane people to perform an annual barbaric act, that is never mentioned between the townspeople afterwards.

The attitude of the community in the beginning of the story seems completely normal. This is not only the author trying to digress the reader away from the ending of the story; she is showing readers the only way that human nature will allow a community to act during such a horrible situation.

Human nature is not to kill; thus the public has to hide their consciousness by acting as though everything is fine. A lottery is commonly thought to be a drawing where the winner is rewarded with prizes of some kind. By simply calling this act a lottery and pretending that someone is "winning" something is just another way to cover up the insecurities of the town about experiencing this act of carnage. The author gives subtle clues and hints to nudge the reader into believing that some thing is odd with the town's activity. These hints are things that the community sees as normal because they have been desensitized by partaking in the lottery from when they were children. Jackson wrote,"...The other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones... [They] eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the...