The Negative Consequences Of Tradition In The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

467 Words2 Pages
In her story "The Lottery", Shirley Jackson implies the negative consequences of blindly following tradition through the acceptance, by the villagers, of the tradition of the lottery. Jackson suggests that the people of the village are afraid to give up the little tradition they have, even if it is not good. Every year after the lottery, the conductor of the lottery, Mr. Summers suggests that they should build a new box but, “No one [likes] to upset even as much tradition as [is] represented by the box.” (Jackson, 1). The black box symbolizes ritual and tradition. This quote reveals how firmly rooted the villagers are to this tradition and how menacing they find the idea of change. The villagers take such pride in the ritual of the lottery…show more content…
The tradition of the lottery has been carried out for so long in this village that nobody even knows the reason for its occurring in the first place and nobody questions it. When Old Man Warner, the oldest man in the village, is told about other villages giving up the tradition of the lottery, he says that they are, “[A] pack of crazy fools [...]. There [has] always been a lottery [...]” (Jackson, 4). There is no reason why there has always been a lottery except that every year on June 27th, they held the lottery. Old Man Warner conveys the idea that the lottery is essential for the villages progress. Accordingly, this statement speaks to the importance of a useless and harmful practice in the minds of the villagers. The murderous tradition of the lottery is a normality for all the villagers, especially the children and displays their blind acceptance of an idle practice. When the winner of the lottery, Tessie Hutchinson, is revealed, “ The children already [have] stones. And [...] Davy Hutchinson [is given] a few pebbles.” (Jackson, 7). The villagers will not break the ancient tradition even though they do not have the original paraphernalia nor do they know the reason for this
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