Dangers Of Tradition In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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A tradition or idea that is followed and not questioned by some could potentially be dangerous or illogical. In Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery”, the dangers of blindly following a tradition is portrayed. In “The Lottery,” a village gathers around every year on June 27th to hold a lottery. Mr. Summers leads the tradition every year. This lottery is very unusual; the winner will become the loser. The Hutchinson family is chosen at this year’s lottery. The mother, Tessie says it is unfair and she is ultimately the chosen winner of the lottery. The winner of this lottery is stoned to death by their neighbors. Whether a tradition is immoral or not, some follow traditions for no apparent reason other just following what they were taught.…show more content…
Jackson demonstration of irony is very prevalent throughout the story. The lottery is being held on a “clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day” (291). It’s ironic that the lottery is being held on a beautiful summer day, the description of the weather gives the impression that the tradition is something good. The Hutchinson family is chosen for the lottery and Mrs. Hutchinson claims it’s unfair. The whole family has to draw again. The irony of the lottery is that it’s random and everyone has the same chance of being picked, it also exposes what kind of character Mrs. Hutchinson is. Mrs. Hutchinson at first is thought to be a caring mother, but when under pressure, instead of attempting to protect her children, she selfishly wanted to include all her children, specifically her married daughter, in the drawing to make them “take their chance” (299), to improve her chances of survival. Mrs. Delacroix and Mrs. Hutchinson are good friends, joking about Mrs. Hutchinson’s tardiness to the drawing. Although they’re friends, “Mrs. Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands” (301) and promotes the stoning of Mrs. Hutchinson. The irony of the friendship is that the ritual is so embedded in the community that Mrs. Delacroix does not hesitate to murder her good
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