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Inhumane Acts Of Society Illustrated In Jackson's The Lottery

1027 words - 5 pages

Shirley Jackson's “The Lottery” shows the reader that the human race will do any horrible act for success, in this case holding a town lottery where the winner is stoned to death in the towns square in hopes of a bountiful corn crop come during harvest time. The lottery is a tradition held in the town annually on June 27 and is done right as the corn is ready to become fruitful. Even in the day and age where technology is used for farming (tractors, plows) to till and harvest the land, this is a communal tradition that cannot be broken.
The story begins with a small town on a beautiful sunny day showing the children innocently collecting rocks near the town square, but was it an innocent ...view middle of the document...

As Mr. Summers reads off name by name, the happy, talkative crowd is hushed by the nervousness. Reality is staring to settle in.
As the men are told to open their piece of paper, Bill Hutchinson was disappointed to see the heavily drawn black dot in the middle of his paper. He is not the “winner” yet but now his family is at risk of demise. The rest of the family members must draw amongst themselves to discover who will be stoned for the harvest. The wife Tessie is the unlucky one to hold the final dot. Tessie is not a criminal but a victim of the unfortunate holder of the paper
As the stoning process begins, Mr. Summers announces, “'All right folks, let’s finish quickly,'” (p.209). This remark proves that this village does not cherish human life where they will do anything for a successful outcome. This ritual sacrifice is something the younger generations might foresee as something not right or barbaric to do. Mrs. Adams says, “‘some places have already quit lotteries,'” (p. 207). Old Man Warner who has been to 77 lotteries angrily argues, “'There always been a lottery...nothing but trouble in that, pack of young fools,'” (p.207). This shows that the young people are wanting to go off the trail and get rid of lottery because they see no good in it. The older generations see the lottery as a tradition that has been practiced for many years, it must keep living on. As the reader reflects on the story, they may question their own society; does our modern day society truly differ from the culture in “The Lottery”. The first thought that comes to one’s mind is the acts that are performed by the town in the story are barbaric and unheard of. The town believes they are innocent and it is something that is required for the welfare of staying alive. In our modern day society, we can also relate to those acts performed in The Lottery.


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