Tradition And Violence In The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

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In the story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, there is a fine line between tradition and violence. In this particular story, that line is crossed. Since the town is unsure when the lottery actually began, basing the age only on the deteriorating black box, they are wary to end the deadly choosing. Also, because of the amount of time the lottery has been around, the people have come to accept the murder, feeling powerless to do anything. Eventually, they blindly follow the horrid act every year only because they want to preserve a tradition without even knowing when it started. Therefore, the overall theme of “The Lottery” is how dangerous tradition can be when followed unconsciously. One very important reason in determining this theme, is the fact that the lottery has become a part…show more content…
People go about the lottery in the same way they would square dances, the Teen Club, and the Halloween program, as told in the novel. All of them considered “civic activities.” “Soon the men began to gather. Surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes.” (Jackson 1) The men gather as if it is a normal day, showing that this custom has been around for a long time, turning the awful act into a day like any other. The author conveys the theme in the way she gives imagery; like the women gossiping and the children running around, gathering stones and guarding their pile from the other kids. The townspeople have unconsciously followed the lottery for so long, it has made them powerless to change, even though there is nothing stopping them from doing so.
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