Chapter Summary Of The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

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Part 1: The Plot On June 27, a tranquil summer day, the 300 villagers of a small town come to the town square. Children of the village play together in the town square and gather and stack stones. The men and women come after the children. The lottery is conducted by Mr. Summers who has time to organize events. He comes to the square with the black box, while Mr. Graves, the postmaster, carries the stool to put the black box on. The black box is not the original box, but it is made from “pieces of the box that had preceded it… The box grew shabbier each year; by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly” from years of usage (Jackson 13). It is very old, but no one wants to replace it because of tradition, despite Mr. Summer’s…show more content…
Old Man Warner is the eldest person of the town. He has participated in many lotteries before and is a strong advocate for the tradition. He calls the towns that want to and have stopped the lotteries as a “pack of crazy fools” (Jackson 16). He is so threatened of change that he truly believes that ending the lottery would force people to want “to go back to living in caves, nobody work anymore, [and] live that way for a while” (Jackson 16). This illogical fear shows that Old Man Warner believes that any change to tradition will lead to disaster. He provides the example of people who follow tradition blindly instead of questioning why the past had that tradition in the first place. The other important character is Mr. Summers. Mr. Summers is the most powerful man of the village. He makes “the slips of paper and puts them in the…” black box that is used for the lottery, which ultimately kills one person every year (Jackson 13). Mr. Summers is similar to the lottery in that everyone in the village gives him power arbitrarily. Like the lottery, nobody questions his authority over the black box or city…show more content…
It represents any idea or custom that is taught and passed down from parent to child from generation to generation that is loved and accepted without question, even if it is unreasonable and violent. It is ironic that a lottery sounds like a good thing will happen to the person who chose the right slip of paper, but in fact it will kill the person who draws the paper. This tradition has taken place since the beginning of the village’s history without anyone questioning why it was used. It was so ingrained in their society that the villagers have “a saying [that stated] ‘Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon’” (Jackson 15). This shows that the people of the village are so loyal to it that it created a phrase that everyone says. The lottery lives on and continues because there has always been a lottery. To them, it means that the lottery brings corn harvests, which is a good thing to look forward to even at the cost of a fellow villager’s life. Everyone in the village is ready to murder the person who got the slip on a yearly basis, including the people who are related to the victim. Family and friendships mean nothing when it is time to stone the person who gets the slip. The lottery ruins loyalty and love simply because it is a tradition. This is an example of what will happen when traditions and customs are not questioned by the past, current, and future

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