The Role Of Morality In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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Shirley Jackson’s, “The Lottery” throws away human morality and values, so one person can win something. It is the prize that questions people’s morals and values. The “winner” of the lottery each year is stoned to death in the town square. Ironic, no? The villagers are excited and very competitive about killing someone on this day each year. What kind of morals do these people really have? In modern society, something like this is unthinkable. “The children assembled first, of course”. (p903) These children, innocent and seemingly unaware of the true consequences of the lottery, collecting rocks for the stoning as if they were playing in a game. The adults, being older and wiser, are caught up in the tradition of the lottery that they do not see that killing another human as morally wrong. “They stood together, away from the pile of stones…”. (p903) It suggests the villagers do not know the difference between right and wrong, it is the way it always has been so they must continue doing it. An innocent person, whether adult or child, is going to be killed for what they all believe is the right thing to do. In modern society, the intent behind the lottery is considered cruel, unusual, …show more content…
This annual tradition was performed more for a sacrifice to ensure good crops, “Lottery in June…” (p906) This type of story forces the reader to think about what is important in life and even some of the things that you may take for granted. It provides a realization that parents teaching the differences between right and wrong and the legal system, were to teach values and morals. Humans tend to do things without questioning the issue or themselves. Somethings cannot be justified, like whether it is acceptable to sacrifice another human for a greater good. Nobody should ever be put in this position even if it is for a better cause, evil is not