The Dark Society in “The Lottery” A Lottery symbolizes wealth and fortune for many people; however, “The Lottery,” written by Shirley Jackson, is a pathetic story that reflects the humanity. It was about a ritual held in a village on june27th, every year. During that day, the villagers had to come together; then, every head of the family had to pick a piece of paper. If the men picked a paper with a black spot, he and his family were going to pick the paper in the second time. Then, the person who picked the paper with a black spot in the second time was stoned to death by the villagers. “The Lottery” reveals a dark and vicious society where people are superstitious about the power of ritual, lacking of moral sense to respect their surrounding people, and social inequality in gender. To begin with, the villagers were extremely superstitious in terms of the lottery rights. They grouped together in the morning to wait for the lottery, and they stopped their work also to be able to come to the square on time. However, “the men stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed” (Jackson 2). This showed that they paid a great deal of respect to the lottery even though they knew what would happen after that. Likewise, Mr. Summers wanted to change a new box to replace the old black one, which is “made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here” (2). Mr. Summers’s plan had never passed through because the villagers thought that the old black box had remained the power from the traditional box, and they did not want to change it. Still, The Lottery had been held for at least seventy years, and it increased the likelihood of a good harvest. When MR. Adam revealed that they north village was thinking of quitting the lottery, old Man Warner believed that it would be bad for the village because it might mean poor harvest(Jackson 4). For this reason, the villagers held the lottery for a long period time. On the contrary, there is no evidence to prove that the ritual can bring a good harvest; it just reveals that many people become victims under the superstition of ritual. In addition, the villagers lack care for the well-being of their surrounding people. To illustrate, Old Man Warner said that he had been to the lottery for seventy-seven year (5). This means he had seen many bloody and terrible scenes where the victims were stoned to death because of the lottery, but he did not show any guilt for participating in many murders. Furthermore, when Tessie (Mrs. Hutchinson) was picked as the victim of the lottery, he urged everyone to kill her (6). This action was extremely cold-blooded because he was encouraging the other villagers to commit the murder. Moreover, Tessie’s husband Bill and their children did not take any action to protect her. When Tessie knew her husband picked the paper with the black spot, she was trying to get support from her husband by saying the lottery was unfair. On the other hand, her husband just told her to shut up instead of agreeing what she had addressed (5). Her children did not say any word either. When Tessie picked the paper with the black spot and became the victim of the ritual, nobody stood for her, and her husband and children kept silent. At that time, the villagers just wanted to finish the ritual as soon as possible. Mrs. Delacroix, who talked to Tessie before the lottery started, chose a big stone and picked it with two hands (Jackson 6). This is a heartless behavior because one small stone can already kill a person. Mrs. Delacroix does not have to pick that heavy stone; she could choose a smaller one instead. In the last part of the text, “someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles.” (5) The villagers wanted Tessie’s little son to participate into the murder and kill his mother. These actions indicate that the…
The short story called The Lottery by Shirley Jackson incorporates many symbols to emphasize the theme throughout the story. One of the symbols that is mentioned in the short story is the lottery, which represents tradition and how a group uses violence to conform to society. The author also utilizes the names of the villagers as symbols to depict contradictory characteristics of each personage. In addition to these symbols, Jackson also uses the black box, the three-legged stool,…
The black box in this story is a symbol of tradition and the villager’s loyalty towards the lottery. When it comes to tradition it is easy to forget the significance, especially when a tradition is very old like the lottery. Shirley Jackson continuously shows the age of this tradition through the box throughout the story by showing the fragileness of the box. Mr. summers had to ‘carry the black wooden box’ and had it ‘resting on the stool’ showing the tiredness of this tradition. They even talked…
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…
“The Lottery” (1948)
Why would a civilized and peaceful town would ever suggest the horrifying acts of violence can take place anywhere at any time and the most ordinary people can commit them. Jackson's fiction is noted for exploring incongruities in everyday life, and “The Lottery”, perhaps her most exemplary work in this respect, examines humanity's capacity for evil within a contemporary, familiar, American setting. Noting that the story’s characters, physical environment, and even its climactic…
Critical Analysis: The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery” is based on the principal theme that the will of the people overcomes individual power. The story clearly illuminates the ease with which people find group-decisions, due to the fact that group-decisions reduce the personal responsibility. Additionally, it illustrates the imminent culture in which tradition is viewed as the ‘security blanket’ of the community at the expense of reason. Jackson’ story…
apart and criticize something to the point of no return. In today’s society, the feministic “way of seeing things” has become very popular. If you aren’t really sure what that means, feminism is the idea that a female’s rights are completely equal to those who are male. They see themselves to have a rather “unsuitable” place in society and in order to fix such allegations, choose to make notice to the issue in writing. “The Lottery”, written by Shirley Jackson, is one example.
This particular short…
29 March 2012
“The Lottery,” A Literary Analysis
Although fiction, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” accurately examines humanity’s strikingly realistic capacity for evil within a contemporary, familiar American setting. The story explores how a modern society follows a deadly ritual obediently and in uniformity, with the same fervor and joy as in the past. Through her alarming imagery in the story, Jackson…
English 1 CAS
October 15th, 2014
Short Story Essay
Shirley Jackson’s purpose for writing “The Lottery” was to comment on society, show how traditions can be forgotten and go wrong over time, and that you don’t know or understand how bad something is until you are in that position. On the day of the lottery the town gathers for the annual tradition of picking someone to get stoned to death. In the story we learn about the families, and how they aren’t bothered…
Character Comparison of “Young Goodman Brown” and the “Lottery”
Professor Katie Robinson
July 15, 2012
In Nathaniel Hawthorne's “Young Goodman Brown” and Shirley Jackson's “The Lottery”, we are given a picture of seemingly normal people who are capable of incredible evil.
Opening mood in both stories
a. Goodman Brown's sets out on a walk in the forest, but knows that evil awaits him.