The Danger Of Tradition In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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The Danger of Tradition
Traditionally many ancient societies would kill their people to sacrifice to God in order to obtain rain or a good harvest. These mindlessly, followed traditions were never critically thought about and therefore citizens died year after year. A similar tragedy occurs in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”. This story features a civilization much like our own but with one small difference, the town’s people hold a lottery every year and the town stones who ever loses to death. Through out the story it is evident the danger of blindly following tradition is developed through the symbolism of the black box, the setting and atmosphere the author creates, the symbolism behind the act of the lottery and what it represents on modern day society.
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The box is used in the lottery to draw slips of paper (Jackson 313). If their paper has a dot on it, the drawer is to be stoned to death (Jackson 319). In Danielle Schaub’s "Shirley Jackson's Use of Symbols in 'The Lottery’”, She suggests that the color black on the box represents death, mourning, and punishment (par.7). This symbolism foreshadows to the danger and death involved in the lottery. The box is also described as falling apart. The town’s people do not want to replace it because of stories they were told about the box being made of pieces of the box preceding it, all the way to the first people who started the tradition (Jackson 313). This reluctance to let go of something that is falling apart and broken represents their reluctance to get rid of the lottery although it is broken and illogical. This is how Jackson represents the danger of tradition; no matter how crazy, harmful, or backwards that tradition, if it is something a society is used to, it will continue to follow the
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