"Traditions in Society" Written about "The Lottery"

Essay by mike_86_68High School, 12th gradeA, February 2004

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Traditions in Society

Traditions are a daily part of our lives, playing a game of slow pitch with an entire family, cooking a special dinner for a birthday, raking the leaves into a pile in the fall and then jumping into it with your dog. Each of these are traditions that make most people feel happy and make them look forward to doing it again. However, this is not always the case. Shirley Jackson has written a short story called "The Lottery" where a lottery is done each year in a town and the winner of this gets stoned to death. Every member in the village participates in this ritual each year; they believed the old saying of "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon". They did a lottery every year almost as a sacrifice to bless their crops. A tradition such as this would greatly effect the town and likewise, modern society.

In the short story, "The Lottery", Shirley Jackson shows how humanity continues to practice unbeneficial traditions.

Throughout the story there are several comments on how the tradition should proceed. "Lets finish quickly", "Hurry up", "I wish they'd hurry", "that was done pretty fast, and now we've got to be hurrying..."; all of these relate to what the people think about that day. It is apparent none of the towns' people like spending time practicing at this tradition and yet they do not speak out against it. Although most traditions nowadays are full of joy and happiness, there are some that share feelings with the tradition of the lottery. Often times those who have lost a loved one near a big traditional holiday or are experiencing the holiday alone for the first time also experience feelings of anxiety and wish it would be over.