Shirley Jackson The Lottery Tradition

643 Words3 Pages
When the word lottery comes to mind, people would expect a colossal amount of excitement buzzing around the area. In Shirley Jackson’s story “The Lottery,” it contradicts the traditional views of a lottery. This particular raffle is an annual event that is set in a small town where everyone knows everyone. Instead of this tradition being amusing and enjoyable to the citizens, they feel that it is just another day. This is from the same routine every year and it begins to feel monotonous. The entire town has to draw from a black box and the person who is considered the winner shows no emotion as the prize of this drawing is not a new beginning but a final destination. This old tradition could use some modifications to have more appropriate outcomes.…show more content…
The beginning of this story has implications of that day being normal and consistent with the tradition. When the lottery starts, it proves why this custom should be altered. The ironic word choice conveys to the story’s theme by contradicting the common views of a lottery. Jackson introduces the story with the idea of the village coming together for a pleasant ritual for everyone to enjoy. Mrs. Hutchinson, one of the town’s spectators, is in support of the tradition being kept the same. This is until her family is the center of attention for the winning slip of death. In the beginning, Mrs. Hutchinson is running late and says “Clean forgot what day it was” (291). When the drawing starts, she has a change of heart. “It wasn’t fair!” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed as she realized that her husband had the winning ticket that would decide his fate. With Mrs. Hutchinson causing a scene over the winning piece of paper, the town decides to let only her family redraw. After the redraw, Mrs. Hutchinson is the one left with the black dot of death. The irony created from the word choice is the person who does not really mind the original tradition all of a sudden deems this culture as unfair. The irony of this story proves that blindly following a tradition serves no true…show more content…
Jackson describes the children of the story breaking into “boisterous play” (290). This idea of children playing and joking around implies that peaceful times are amongst the people of the community. With the kids jubilant and full of life, there is no reason why this tradition should be changed in any way. By the end of the story, there is a drastic change in mood of the people in the town. Mrs. Hutchinson, the winner of the lottery, was set to be stoned to death. Jackson says, “Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, then they were upon her” (295). This suggest that a day that started bright and vibrant, ended dark and basically lifeless. The change of tone in this story exemplifies that aimlessly following a ritual hinders a society from reaching their full potential. Shirley Jackson wrote “The Lottery” to emphasize that following a tradition with no prior knowledge or reason can lead to people not making a positive change in the world. The ironic events and tone convey to the story’s theme because they apply different views of what a traditional lottery should be. The winner of this lottery is destined to be killed by all of the other citizens in the village. This tradition should be changed with time, evolving into something more civil because there is no longer a purpose to
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