Essay about Tradition Downfalls

Submitted By liefer11
Words: 651
Pages: 3

Tradition Downfalls In her short story “The Lottery, “Shirley Jackson uses the black box and the lottery itself to show how blindly following tradition can lead to disaster. The villagers resist change but do not have a good reason as to why they murder an innocent person every year. Along with this, Jackson uses many different literary technics to grab the readers attention. The black box represents the tradition of the lottery. It is very shabby looking and almost falling apart due to all the wear and tare on the box. “... by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained.” (Jackson.2) The villagers are unwilling to deviate away from this dilapidated box. They solely base their attachment to the box on nothing more than tradition. “There was a story that the present box had been 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.” (1) The villagers really don’t know much about the lottery’s origin but try to preserve it nevertheless. Their blind acceptance of this tradition led to an abundance of innocent people being murdered. Jackson uses many different literary techniques to enhance her short story. One of these elements is dramatic irony. This is shown with the drawings from the black box. In our personal lives, the winner of a drawing usually gets a pleasurable prize. However, in “The Lottery”, it is just the opposite. The person's name that is drawn from the box receives death by stoning. “A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, "Come on, come on, everyone." (7) The names of the characters are also ironic. We have Mr. Summers and Mr. and Mrs.Graves. Mr. Summers is the “big man” who conducts the lottery. “The lottery was conducted--as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program--by Mr. Summers.” (1) His name leads us to think good things about him, when in reality he is everything but good. Although Mr. Summers may seem like the man in charge, Mr. Graves is in control of the villages communication with the outside world. He is also the person who gave Mr. Summers the right to conduct the lottery and who brought the stool for the black box to sit on. Mrs. Graves is the wife of Mr. Graves. She flat out tells Tessie the lottery is fair because everyone gets a fair shake.