Tradiotion or Cruelty Essay

Submitted By Marandapowell02
Words: 752
Pages: 4

Tradition or Cruelty

"The Lottery," a short story written by Shirley Jackson, is a tale about a disturbing social practice. The setting takes place in a small village consisting of about three hundred towns people. On June twenty-seventh of every year, the members of this traditional community hold a village-wide lottery in which everyone is expected to participate. Throughout the story, the reader gets an odd feeling regarding the residents and their annual practice. As the story begins, the villagers appear to be fairly civilized and carry on fairly modern lifestyles. Not until the end does he or she gets to know what the lottery is about. there is an overwhelming sense that something terrible is about to happen due to the Jackson's effective use of foreshadowing through the depiction of characters and setting. This is assumed by the men discussion of planting, rain, tractors, and taxes. The lottery was outdated to such a degree that some may think that the tradition is primal competition of anthropoid beasts. On the other hand, some think that carrying on the tradition was necessary. The question that must be answered is: Was this a barbaric tradition or was this ritual an honest attempt to better other villager's lives? On this dreadful day, all families gather together to draw slips of paper from a black box.

The heads of households are the first to draw a piece of paper from the black box. The paper with the black dot on it indicates which family is to draw again. Then pieces of paper for each family member are placed in the box and each family member must draw again from the black box. The paper with the black dot on it determines which of the family members is to be stoned to death, as stated in the story towards the end. There is much symbolism in this tale, from the black box used to store the papers, the papers themselves, to the wooden stool used, the time and day the lottery takes place, the names of the participants, the method for killing the chosen one, and the chosen one herself. Jackson's tone while speaking of the box leaves the reader in suspense. We get the feeling that the box is related to a bad outcome for the a family or person. Though the story can be construed as somewhat morbid.
The black box is described as being shabby and “in some places faded or stained”.(Jackson 252)
There was talk of making a new black box, but no one took any action to do so. Shirley Jackson’s Use of Symbols In ‘The Lottery' by telling the readers the color of the black box indicates death, mourning, and punishment. The description of the box being stained may indicate that it was stained by blood. irony is an underlying theme used throughout the story. The setting is introduced as a "clear and sunny" day, but ends with the…