The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Essay by amazone16College, UndergraduateA, March 2004

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In ancient time, tradition usually helped people to find their way and to develop their personalities. However, tradition could blind people by being destructive and creating victims through social pressure. Shirley Jackson's story ''The Lottery'' portrays an ordinary New England village with average citizens engaged in a deadly rite, the annual selection of sacrificial a victim by means of a public lottery. Jackson proves her point by Miss Hutchinson who is the victim in the story, by showing the tradition's selfishness results while releasing her from social pressure. However, she ironically puts herself directly in the position of the sacrificial lamb because first she goes with the tradition, but when this happen to her, it is not right anymore. Another element is Old Man Warner, who represents pure tradition because he is against any suggestion of change. He is the guardian of tradition, fighting for its continuity and application, without questioning its reasons.

Furthermore, the children who symbolize the future are manipulated by the elders who want them to follow the tradition. Hence, Shirley Jackson thinks that people shouldn't surrender to peer pressure and tradition because it makes them conform to society's rules and victimizes them.

Shirley Jackson shows that tradition puts people under social pressure. In the story tradition symbolized by the black box and also by Old man Warner. Pieces of the black box have been there for a long time, even if people don't really understand their meaning. In addition, this box is really important because it represents the ancient values and now the box had failed because tradition disappearing. People are afraid of it and they don't want to touch because it symbolizes death. As well, people's blindness towards tradition is represented by Old Man Warner's attitude because he doesn't really know what...