Lottery: Sociology and Tradition Essay

Submitted By mars_rules123
Words: 1192
Pages: 5

Shirley Jackson’s short story ‘The Lottery’ is a very well known story to most. Due to it’s disturbing content and violent situations, most people would be rather scared to continue their read. But, throughout the story, Jackson portrays many aspects of what tradition consisted of and the horrors behind many of our ancestors. The term ‘lottery’ usually, in our opinions at least, sounds to be something good, but as readers know, it is quite the opposite in this story. The characters in the story who rebelled against the social norm of this time era seemed to have posed a threat in what people back in that society called ‘tradition’. Jackson is incorporating several aspects of critique to the time eras society and culture by imposing the cruel nature of their sense of tradition, along with foreshadows of a dark ending for the ones who rebel against the social norm. The lottery enforces unfair judgements between men and women. Women are inferior in the social structure of the village, which is shown as Mrs. Hutchinson's family is chosen in the first round of the lottery. As Mrs. Hutchinson objects that her daughter and son-in-law "didn't take their chance," (781) Mr. Summers tells her that "daughters draw with their husbands' families," (781) which shows that power is solely held within the hands of the males in families. As women stand as less important housewives, they must accept and submit to their husbands' power over them due to the fact that in the work force, they are solely linked to the economic aspect of the community, therefore being the main source that provides for their families. As the story goes, we see Mrs. Hutchinson rebel completely against this socially accepted mail over-powerment. As soon as her families name is called, she pushes her husband and states, "Get up there, Bill." (779) With this act, Mrs. Hutchinson is indeed acting rebelliously. Along with that, she ironically contradicts the normality of gender domination by reversing the power between husbands and wives. She was eventually banished from her society, as Mrs. Hutchinson is stoned and killed, which can be seen as a foreshadow to all the acts of rebellion before the stoning. Although, it is soon realized that no remorse was shown by any of the townsmen, not even her family. The entire town as a whole seems to have a mixed set of arguments against this tradition. Some may agree, and some seem to disagree, just like the Hutchinson’s. It seems to be clear as day that those who are more accustomed to these cruel traditions are the older people in the town, which makes it easier for them to understand and accept it. But, although it is less understood as the generations pass, these traditions continue to pass on to children at an early age. As Davy Hutchinson is taught about the lottery, he is told about the aspects surrounding the tradition before he will understand the cruel events that take place along with the choosing. Just like their parents, children take part in the stoning. Children tend to follow in the footsteps of their parents, therefore, by being a witness to their parents acts, it seemed to make them eager to please their parents. Even before their parents, as stated "The children had stones already, and someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles" (782). Although it seemed that most people knew about the cruelty following the traditions, that does not suggest that they would stop this tradition anytime soon. It seems that although they knew of the evilness portrayed, the lottery wasn't necessarily considered to be immoral. They seemed to have accepted their tradition, and for the sake of respect, limit their negative voicing towards it for fear of retribution. It has been a tradition passed on for so long that majority of the townsmen do not think twice about it. When Mrs. Adams comments that "Some places have already quit lotteries" (780), no suggestion of stopping it within her village were followed. The