Traditions are customary beliefs that people take to heart and follow due to many stories past down from generation to generation. The human mind is brainwashed to the point where these patterns in life become the social norm within specific communities. Shirley Jackson writes a story about a game, gambling with innocent lives, “The Lottery”. The thought of a lottery generally instills the color green in many minds. But this was not any ordinary lottery. It’s a traditional gathering that occurs on the morning of June 27th annually, where an individual involuntarily is eliminated from humanity. There is a time and place when a fine line should be drawn between evil traditions and modern moralities and laws. Does pulverizing an innocent human beings skull with stones at exhilarating speeds sound in any way civilized? There are moralities and laws which are penetrated and deceased when such a cruel action arises, because people have choices and rights which are voided when forced into their personal extinction.
Common laws and norms are set in place to protect. Tessie Hutchinson suffered a brutal, blooded death due to what the villagers would call faith. These people disregard all federal laws in order to fulfill their ancestor’s beliefs. They commit such a heinous crime and neglect how much societal laws and norms have evolved from the many previous generations. No individual can be identified as the killer so they feel no one could be held culpable for their harmful morals. And in what days was it ever normal to put one in such pain by torture? Even if for some reason these villagers could get passed breaking the law, why would they go upon this tragedy with such vengeance?
The nature of violence is the real theme behind this story rather than a common tradition. Traditions are common beliefs and customs generated over time. In “The Lottery” the villager’s tradition is to perform this random selection and in the end kill whoever is selected. The danger within tradition is how it’s blindly followed. They act off of what they know from the past, but they have little understanding on the significance of why they originally participate in this fatal belief. In reality the only traditional action being performed is the killing of the chosen one. There is no interest from the villagers to perform this act the way it has been done for many past decades. They lack the use of the real black box and the wooden chips that are drawn. Little pieces of paper with a random pencil marked slip determines the villager’s destiny. Many clues throughout this story show how meaningless the putrid conclusion is.
If society can socially accept this as a reasonable tradition then there should be no punishment or prejudice attitudes proposed towards any individual for any other act of violence due to equality. Amongst all of humanity anger has exposed itself at one time or another through cruel intentions. As citizens, society gives people the right to do as they please, of course with certain boundaries and guidelines. Once those limitations are exceeded society takes a step forward crushing ones freedom. In the case of Tessie’s death many people broke the norm and tend to life the next day as if nothing occurred. There is a lack of equality between the villagers and the outside world. They need to face reality and realize tradition or not, it’s barbaric and punishable.
Throughout “The Lottery” there are many moral downfalls due to the class system portrayed. Men tended to have a sense of hierarchy over women and children. The moral aspect to modern society is everyone has equal opportunities. In this story women are forced to draw twice if their husband is unable to attend. For example when Dunbar broke his leg, it exempted him from possible death. Now if it was the other way around and Mrs. Dunbar broke her leg would she be enabled to have that same pity excuse to be absent? If men are so strong and almighty why isn’t it…