Superstition In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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The story of “ The Lottery ” by Shirley Jackson is a very surprising story especially towards the end. It causes great consternation and shock when we learn that the winner of the lottery - Tessie Hutchinson, does not win an award, rather finds herself stoned to death. This somewhat shows the role that superstition played years ago. It was widely prevalent and as we progressed in terms of science and technology, we have come to break apart from such harmful traditions. It is precisely due to these superstitions, often many an innocent life has been taken without just cause. This is what we encounter in this tragic story. From the beginning of the story, the author presents a lively outlook of the village life and the different people who are …show more content…

Hutchinson said, as quietly as she could. “I tell you it wasn’t fair. “ (para. 61 ) However, everyone else goes along with the lottery as though blind and oblivious to it’s fatal result that would prove to be the end of one of their own lives. All along, utilitarianism appears to be the key driving force behind this lottery. A lottery is usually an occasion for celebration but this one is a ritual that involves stoning a person to death based on the lottery’s results. Old Man Warner’s explanation offers insight into why utilitarianism and superstition blend together : "Used to be a saying about ‘Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon." ( para. 33 ) . It seems that the villagers believed that in order to have a good harvest of corn for the village, they would have to sacrifice one person in the guise of a lottery. They assumed that trouble would follow if they didn’t go through with the lottery and they might even find themselves living in caves again like the ancient men. Thus, the story commits a gross injustice to one person based on a truly flawed belief that is caused due to irrational fear and long-living

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