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A Critical Assessment Of “The Lottery” By Shirley Jackson

1567 words - 7 pages

A Critical Assessment of “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson, author of “The Lottery”, was born in San Francisco in 1919, but moved to Rochester, New York when she was a teenager. She later attended the University of Rochester, but due to a bought severe depression, which would plague her throughout her entire life, she had to drop out of school. Jackson later graduated from Syracuse University, and soon moved with her husband. Stanley Edgar Hyman, to Bennington, Vermont. While there she devoted herself to writing a fixed amount of words each day. Pieces she wrote varied from novels, The Road Through the Wall, various psychological thrillers such as Hangsaman, The Haunting of ...view middle of the document...

Soon the wives appear and begin to gossip with each other, and then everyone joined up with their own family. During everyone’s arrival many people talk about how some towns are getting rid of the lottery and how maybe they could too, but the older generation criticizes them for this. The box that is used for the lottery is brought out by Mr. Summers, who runs the lottery, and placed on a stool. Mr. Summers calls role of all families to make sure everyone is there, and double checks on who is drawing for those who can’t physically be there. Then one by one the person drawing for each family goes up and choses a folded piece of paper out of the box and keeps it folded until everyone has had a chance to draw. The papers are then opened and the Hutchison family has drawn the paper with the black dot. Tessie Hutchinson, Bill’s wife, screams that it was unfair and that her husband didn’t have enough time to pick out the paper that he really wanted. She is quieted by her peers and husband and the family moves up to the front by the lottery box. 5 pieces of paper are put back into the box, including the one with the black dot on it, and each member of the family must draw a piece of paper. After everyone draws the papers are unfolded by each member of the family, starting with little Dave. Dave’s paper is blank, as is both his brother Bill Jr.’s and his sister Nancy’s. Next Bill Hutchinson opens his to find it blank. Everyone looks to Tessie and she shows that her paper has the black dot on it. The crowd quickly left Tessie in the middle of the open space, and the people pick up the rocks that the children had piled up. As Tessie says, “It isn’t fair,” a stone hits her on the side of her head. The men of the village tell everyone to come on, and then as Tessie screams, “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” the villager were upon her.
One theme that can be seen in “The Lottery” is small town’s dependence on tradition. The village in the story has been around for many years, and no one seems to remember the origination of the tradition, but whenever someone brings up ending the tradition they are met with heavy resistance by those who feel that the lottery is still necessary. This theme is also seen when the villigers talk about the box that is used for the lottery. The box has been around for many years, isn’t the original box, and is beginning to drastically show its age with splinters and cracks along all the sides. Every year Mr. Summers suggests making a new box, but the villagers are so worried to alter the tradition of the lottery that talk of making a new box ends as quickly as it started. A motif that can be seen in this story is rules, and how some can be followed strictly, while others are completely forgotten by everyone. One rule that is followed quite strictly is when the lottery is to be held. It is always held on the 27th of June, and this year was no exception. Rules also dictated as to who would draw for each family and that role as to be...

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