Patriarchy In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

798 Words4 Pages
In the 1940's, males are the absolute dominant gender in society. Shirley Jackson's famous short story “The Lottery”, shows exactly that. This short story portrays the critique of the dominance of patriarchy in past societies, as well as showing just how easily it is to blindly follow a ritual or tradition, even though they do not know very much about the origin of this tradition, they continue to follow it for the sole purpose of it having been around for such an extended period. Those who blindly follow tradition are more willing to commit an act of mass violence, simply for the sake of a tradition. Before the commencement of the lottery, the children are, "...selecting the smoothest and roundest stones." (100), and are playing with them…show more content…
Otherwise known as housewives, women who tend to the household chores and take care of the children whilst catering to the husband's every need. Which during the era of the 1940's, the period in which this short story is taking place, it is quite realistic to see housewives in most, if not every household. The women join shortly after their "menfolk." (101). They are greeting one another and exchanging, "bits of gossip" (101), as they walk over to join their husbands. The women try to call their children over to join them in the waiting process before the commencement of the lottery. The children obey quite reluctantly, but only after four or five attempts at calling them over. One of the children, named Bobby Martin, disobeys his mother entirely and runs "under his mother's grasping hand." (101), laughing and running towards the children's various piles of collected stones. Bobby's father "spoke up sharply" (101), to establish dominance over both his son and his wife. Little Bobby obeyed his father's orders instantaneously to claim his place in waiting between his father and eldest brother. The story takes place in an undetermined small town in what one can only imagine as America, during the 1940s. There are only three specific places in the town that are mentioned. Those places being the post office and the bank that are surrounding town square itself, where the…show more content…
Though essential to them, the townsfolk are unaware and begin to question why they continue to participate in such the barbaric ritual of selecting a villager at random, and stoning them to death. Peer pressure and conformity are the reasons that the clear majority of these villagers are participating. One of the frightening elements of this tradition, is that it seems eternal. The townsfolk are unaware of the origin of “The Lottery”, and by the sounds of Old Man Warner practically forcing the townsfolk to allow the ritual to continue, there seems to be no end in sight. The lack of knowledge about the tradition, shows just how strong the tradition has become. The villagers have been following it blindly for so long, that they fear rebelling against
Open Document