The Nature Of Tradition In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” describes a quaint town with perfect, homely citizens that nonchalantly participate in an annual, gruesome tradition. The short story deceives the reader through ironic descriptions of the characters, the character names, and the setting in order to heighten the dramatic effect of the horrific conclusion. The nature of tradition also occurs in the short story by focusing on the superstitious nature of people and the fear of changing the customs. Through the use of ironic descriptions and the overlying nature of tradition, Shirley Jackson creates an engaging story with relatable characters and personal beliefs to maintain culture only to shock the reader once the grim reality of the lottery. Shirley Jackson utilizes irony in her descriptions of people and the village in order to…show more content…
The event of the lottery adds to the calm atmosphere of the village because, in the modern day, the word “lottery” relates to winning and thus holds a positive connotation. The effect of the peaceful, perfect villages intensifies the truth of the lottery: Nonchalant villagers who happily and willingly participate in the lottery and the stoning, where no one appears nervous or upset at the tradition. The villagers blindly follow tradition because everyone else participates, no one wants to stand out against tradition, and the superstitious attitude that having “the lottery in June” results in a prosperous village with the “corn [will] be heavy soon” (94). The deception of a seemingly peaceful and happy village, as described in the short story, directs the reader from assuming the worst of the town. As a result, the descriptions successfully turn the charming town into one that willingly follows a morbid tradition without questioning the true purpose or
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