Tradition In The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

824 Words 4 Pages
Though tattered and splintered, old and worn, the black box remains. Year after year the same old black box, with some possible minimal repairs if needed, is used in the lottery. No one wants to upset tradition by altering it in any major way or make a new one. It is not exactly the original black box but it contains pieces that were part of the original, small pieces that survived its storage and use throughout time. The villagers have no absolute knowledge of how the lottery began, yet they follow it nonetheless, caught up in a web of violence. Every year the lottery takes place on a summer’s day in June, and no one knows exactly why but they cannot defy that tradition, perhaps out of fear, or maybe because that’s the only thing …show more content…
They follow the old ways they were taught by generations before them even if makes no sense to them. In the very beginning of the story we are introduced to a group of boys who are collecting rocks and placing them into a large pile. Their parents, the villagers all seem to be nervous and anxiously awaiting the lottery. They talk amongst themselves, making small talk, but the underlying mood in the town is apprehensive. The black box is brought to the village square by the postmaster, Mr. Graves, and is placed on a three-legged stool. It contains the names of all the families living there. It contains their future, the outcome of the lottery will affect everyone’s …show more content…
Family and friends turn against one another and stone the winner to death. Though the winner, Tessie Hutchinson pleaded with her friends and family not to kill her, they do anyway, stones are thrown at her, and in the end they walk away. The whole story is horrifying and barbaric. At some point in the history of mankind death by stoning may have been used as a ritual to appease the harvest gods so that the harvest would be plentiful. Old Man Warner reminds the people, “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon”. Perhaps back then, it was the normal way to do things, to have human sacrifices, however I cannot imagine such a world. The people in “The Lottery” know better, they live in a modern world with cars and modern conveniences and they know that stoning someone to death is wrong. No one stands up and tries to stop the lottery from happening, only the “winner” Tessie protests and you have to wonder if she didn’t win, would she just have been a willing participant. The lottery, the black box and all the rituals involved are illogical, and the ending of the story is very disturbing, it shows a disregard for human life. Jackson shows how humanity hasn’t progressed and leaves us with the feeling it’s all going to happen again the following

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