November 4th 2013
Midterm Exam Luck Of The Draw
Rituals are religious ceremonies consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. Many rituals that different cultures carry on can seem absurd or outlandish to people from outside that society and at times even to those within that society. An example of this can be seen in the short story, “The Lottery” by, Shirley Jackson, where she depicts a small village of around 300 people who continue a tradition that even the majority of the villagers feel is unnecessary. The tradition named The Lottery happens on the 27th of every June and all the villagers gather around to randomly select who it is that is going to be sacrificed for the wealth of the crops, by doing so they end up annually stoning to death a randomly selected villager. The majority of the villagers have felt this tradition is outgrown and unnecessary but yet continue to carry on this ritual though fear. Although most of the villagers are hesitant to carry on the tradition they do so because it is something that has happened every year since they can remember, and the fear of change holds them back.
The Lottery’s main purpose is to take away a human life in order to give life to the crops for the next season. The village elder explains to one of the villagers that indeed this tradition is important to the village stating, “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon” (English & Literature, Page 47), truly believing that this sacrifice will surely bring in the crops that it has brought in all these years. To many of the villagers this tradition is ridiculous, one of them in particular stating, “Some places have already quit lotteries” ( Page 47) indicating that other villages have successfully cut this tradition and yet have continued to be able to grow new crops without a sacrifice. This attitude shows that most of the villagers want out an exception to Old Man Warner.Wishing to hold on to this tradition Old Man Warner calls the other villagers, “a pack of crazy fools” stating, “Nothing but trouble in that” (Page 47). These statements are a strong indication that Warner is stuck in his ways and can't seem to change how the other villagers truly feel, which is fear. Fearful possibly of what other villagers who continue the tradition might say, fearful of the fact that maybe, just possibly the sacrifice is indeed needed to grow these crops each year.
The way these villagers feel about the tradition and how they act upon it by doing nothing to prevent it from happening are two completely different actions. Although some feel it unnecessary to carry on this tradition, each and every one of them continue to participate in the stoning of Ms.Hutchinson. Some people may behave this way simply because they don't know any other way of doing so. People like Old Man Warner