Conformity Kills There are two major themes of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. These include the dangers of thoughtlessly following traditions, the unjust and inhumanity of violent persecutions. This story intrigued me not only for its message, but because of the author’s background. Jackson suffered from severe depression, and struggled with it throughout her life, this may have had some relevance as to why she wrote this story. Her unique and twisted foreshadowing tone shows the reader a glimpse of the darkness she must have often felt. The first major theme is that of following traditions with no thought, in the story, villagers blindly follow the tradition of “the lottery”. One villager is chosen at random to be stoned to death by the other villagers. This select townsman is chosen by selecting papers from the sacred black box, the person with the black dot on the paper is “the winner”, or the chosen one to be sacrificed this year. There is no mention of what purpose this tradition serves or how it has come to be, it just is. Rituals of random sacrifice have gone on in different cultures throughout history, such as the Aztecs, who believed that their bloodthirsty gods could only be appeased with human sacrifices. However this is not entirely different from our culture today because it is true that, “all societies have customs and rituals that their citizens take for granted” (Kennedy). Consider what we do for our holidays here in America, for example on Halloween we dress up in any imaginary character and go door to door asking for candy. Where do our traditions come from, and why do we follow them without question? Christmas, the day that is supposed to be a celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth, we cut down a tree to put in our house, decorate it, and give each other gifts. We tell our children to believe in imaginary characters, such as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy. On Easter, when Jesus has risen from the dead, we color eggs, and hide baskets full of candy. While there may be a connection on why we follow these traditions, there also may not be. I have never found myself questioning these traditions until now, as I’m sure many other people have not. This is because our customs “provide structure, bolster a sense of collective identity, and help reinforce the society’s culture or beliefs”. To ignore our rituals seems illogical, and against whom we are, so we blindly follow them, as do the villagers in the story. Jackson’s message in this is that we need to question our traditions because no one forces us to repeat the past, except ourselves. The other major theme of this story is the inhumanity of random violent persecutions. In the story, the victim is chosen at random, and is not guilty of any transgressions other than being the unfortunate one to choose the wrong paper from the black box. Everyone is viewed as equal, any man, woman, or child is eligible to be the sacrificial scapegoat; no one is safe from being the potential victim. When Tessie is chosen, although she is seemed to be a good and innocent person, this does not matter, because according to the tradition, she must die. Her death shows how innocent people are often times persecuted for absurd reasoning. Just in the history of America, many different groups have been persecuted for absurd reasons, such as race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation. For example, less than a century ago segregation of African Americans was considered the norm, separate schools, bathrooms, restaurants, almost anything you can imagine was purposely separated, because these people were persecuted for something they could not control, their skin color. It may surprise some to know that this is still a problem today, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation; in 2011 there were a total of 2,619 anti-black hate crime victims (Justice). Farther back in our history, Native Americans were mistreated and persecuted in a similar way. And even in our
Acceptance leads to conformity, which possess an individual’s mindset and destroys individuality. In times when one feels rejected, conformity brings out the darkness in both humanity and society. The detriments of conformity are not only present in modern times but throughout history. In Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Douglass was born as a black slave who learns his way to freedom through many difficulties in society. He realizes conformity was a way…
Discrimination and conformity are used to make people feel like they do not belong to society. I have chosen to study the theme ‘how characters are challenged by society through the effects of conformity and discrimination’. This theme is shown through the films Dead Poets Society directed by Peter Weir and Billy Elliot directed by Stephen Daldy. Also in the novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildread D. Taylor and the short story The Other Foot by Ray Bradbury.
In the film Dead Poets Society…
marginalized and an outsider means to be unconnected and treated as insignificant or peripheral. Tim Burton who has experienced this uses techniques such as juxtaposition, irony, camera angels and sound effects to communicate themes of intolerance and conformity dynamically throughout his films. In the following essay i will talk about how Tim Burton has used his films to feature characters that are diverse in order to comment on society's flaws, whilst also reflecting his own experiences.
Tim Burton was…
faculty here at Heidelberg University. The diversity of gender, age, and consequently their role at the university played a significant part in my findings. I discovered the obvious, the hidden, the rewarding, and the costly characteristics of conformity and nonconformity.
Being in a college atmosphere one can only assume that the students, especially the freshmen, who are new to college life will engage in similar activities. Obvious examples would be partying, staying up late, procrastinating…
Prof. Cristina Davy
The causes of compliance, groupthink, conformity, among individuals have been debated and researched for many decades. [The five motivational reasons to conform: the desire to be correct, the desire to be socially accepted and to avoid rejection and conflict, the need to accomplish group goals, the necessity of establishing and maintaining a self-concept/social identity, and the alignment of oneself with similar individuals]…
Conformity and obedience
Conformity means that you do something the same as someone else, in accordance to social standards or rules set or an agreement. Obedience is when you listen to someone; to obey is when you follow an order from someone who is of a higher authority than you are. There are 2 types of conformity
Private conformity: change of beliefs that occur when a person privately accepts the position taken by others.
Public conformity: superficial change in overt behavior, without…
norm. Just like murder is considered deviant to us in our society, going against “Father”, the face of their government is incredibly deviant. Another form of deviance in this film the fact that the military was sent out to find “sense offenders” to kill them, however, the whole reason for taking the neutralizing drugs is to prevent violence in the first place. The ultimate act of deviance in Equilibrium was when John used all his training learned from his years in the military to murder “Father” and…
lives of prestigious young men. These two stories also deal with the conformity of these young men in their transition from private boys school to the real world. There are two young men from each of the stories whose lives are alike yet different in some ways.
Holden Caufield and Neil Perry are two young men coming of age searching for who they are and what they want to be in life and wanting to escape the confines of conformity and what they are expected to be. Both are the same age or around…
all while bringing up important questions on the roles of conformity and individualism in the world. Society was built on conformity, and Robert Neville in I am Legend shows what happens when an individual is in the way of a society’s progress.
Conformity is a very strong tool in the hands of any political body as they can create the feeling of fear and hate towards an idea, group or individual. A political system which uses conformity to its advantage is communism. Communism attempts to create…
To Kill a Mocking Bird
a. pride in ancestry and “tradition”
“Tired old town” (pg. 5)
pride in conformity and distrust of those who are different
b. “Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself” (pg. 6)
awareness of difference in social classes
c. awareness of difference in social classes
“nothing to buy and no money to buy with it” (pg. 6)
2. Approximately when does the story begin? Show evidence…