"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

Essay by xiaoxiaoyuxie July 2007

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The various changes of environment always affect people’s life. Human being tended to select the best life styles to fit the nature, and to better adapted to the world. Darwin’s idea of adaptive changes applied to the short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. In the story, the small town kept holding the lottery, while other towns refused to continue the lottery. The towns’ refusal illustrated that the villagers in those towns adapted well to the environment. The more changes the villagers made, the more comfortable their life would be, because they were moving to a way of better life. There were several reasons that the villagers wanted to quit the lottery in order to be comfortable in the environment.

As the time passed over, the population of all the towns increased a lot. The villages’ population was “likely to keep on growing” in the future, since more and more people were moving toward the villages (197).

The adaptive changes applied to the event that the villagers gave up the lottery. They might think that it was too difficult to hold the lottery with so many people. There must be problems on how to regulate the activity effectively. The crowded people might cause chaos. Jackson stated that “in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 2nd”, to illustrate the difficulty of holding the lottery. We could assume those towns, which had quit the lottery, had much more population than that.

There were also new industries and businesses formed in the towns, as a result, people might have no time and energy to “devote to civic activities” (197). In the small town, there were only three people who held big businesses: Mr. Summers, Mr. Graves...