the lottery Essay

Submitted By DessJones
Words: 623
Pages: 3

Destinee Jones
English 101
Barnard
September 20, 2014
Blind Leading the Blind: The Lottery Literary Analysis When you hear the word lottery, what do you think of? Grand prizes, large sums of money or even a relaxing yet fun filled vacation? Shirley Jackson begins her story with it being an ordinary summer day. Children talking of school and men discussing farming as they wait for the event to begin. Names are called and slips are drawn as the anticipation builds wondering who will win. In the end Tessie Hutchinson wins but her reward isn’t money or a relaxing vacation, but a slow and painful death. The shocking ending leaves the reader wondering how a group of people can commit murder and see nothing wrong with it. The author uses motifs, symbolism and theme to show the meaning of the annual lottery has been lost. Family ties form the lottery’s basic structure and execution. In the town square, families stand together in groups and every family member must be present: “There were the lists to make up-- head of families, heads of households in each family, members of each household in each family” (261). Family relationships are essential to how the actions of the lottery are carried out, but these relationships mean nothing the moment it’s time to stone the unlucky victim: “The children had stones already and someone gave little Davey Hutchinson a few pebbles” (266). As soon as it’s clear that Tessie has drawn the marked paper her husband and children turn on her just as the other villagers do. Although family relationships determine almost everything about the lottery, they do not guarantee loyalty or love once the lottery is over. The villagers are opposed to making major changes to the tradition such as the construction of a new black box: “Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box” (261).The black box has no functionality except during the two hours every June: "It had spent one year in Mr. Graves's barn and another year underfoot in the post office and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there" (261). The villagers' treatment of the box and its physical state ultimately represents their thinking of the tradition. The lottery concludes with a violent murder every year, an odd ritual that shows just how dangerous…