The Power Of Inhumanity In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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When you hear someone talking about the lottery, a positive image of a winner normally comes to mind. When you participate in the lottery, the worst thing you can lose is just some hard-earned cash. If only this was the case in Shirley Jackson’s story, “The Lottery.” In Jackson’s story, the lottery is not a prize that people want to win. The lottery in Jackson’s story is an annual tradition in which a name is randomly chosen and the winner is “awarded” with a death by stoning. Jackson uses the theme to convey the harsh tradition of the lottery and to demonstrate the powers of conformity, the inhumanity of society, and how inherited traditions can become evil. In Jackson’s story, the lottery is a tradition that towns from all over participate in and conform to the inhumane killing of innocent people. This tradition is not at all like your normal community gathering. In this tradition, every person, including children and elders…show more content…
Jackson makes use of her story to question the reader about the basic structure of the human character. If there was no law and no rules, would we as humans behave differently? If our actions have no repercussions then they will continue to happen, just like in “The Lottery.” When the winner of the lottery is announced, the villagers are relieved that they were not chosen. When Tessie protests, the villagers use their position of safety to remind her to, “be a good sport, Tessie” (page 160). The village people are emotionless when it comes to the stoning of innocent people. The children even join in, raised by the tradition, they do not know any better. On page 162 it says, “and someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles” showing that even Tessie’s son has joined in on the cruel act. Jackson uses the turning of Tessie’s own family to provide proof that violence and cruelty are inherited in human
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