Analysis Of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery And Salem Witch Trials

836 Words4 Pages

On June 26 of 1948, Shirley Jackson’s short story, The Lottery, made its first appearance in an issue of The New Yorker. Jackson was surprised by the substantial amount of backlash she received in regards to her harrowing writing that manifests the rituals of human sacrifice. The story takes place in a small town on an ordinary summer morning. The villagers assemble at the town square for the annual lottery, where one of the villagers will be randomly chosen to sacrifice themselves to the gods of a fertility religion. The villagers believe that a human sacrifice must take place in June to ensure that a bountiful harvest was ahead of them. Jackson satirizes many social issues within the plot of The Lottery, including the reluctance of people to abandon obsolete traditions, ideas, practices, rules, and laws. The superstitious notions tied to tradition provokes the participants to carry out certain customs and set morals aside in order to safeguard a fabricated future. Jackson’s piece embodies underlying attributes of human sacrifice and rituals similar to events that are prevalent in American History, such as the Salem Witch Trials. In colonial Massachusetts, between 1692 and 1693, a series and hearings and prosecutions of people allegedly performing witchcraft took place. A simple rumor precipitated a widespread hysteria, leading to approximately 200 accusations and 20 deaths. Both The Lottery and Salem Witch Trials exemplify how the American culture is essentially

Show More
Open Document