The Significance Of Tradition In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery

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Tradition is defined as a belief or any action that is being followed from one generation to

the next and is being followed unquestionably. One of the example of the short story in which

tradition is being followed blindly is “The Lottery” Shirley Jackson. The short story “The

Lottery” by Shirley Jackson is about a vicious and heinous tradition that the people in the

community celebrate every year on 17th of June. People in this traditional community, every year

hold a village wide in which everyone in the village are expected to participate. The lottery is

held in a symbolic black box that holds hundreds of pieces of paper from where everyone in the

village must choose one. But there is one piece of paper with a red dot and the
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The children may try to take the revenge of their parents death and for which they

might get arrested and lead them to the negative direction. Shirley Jackson’s short story “The

lottery” portray that even though the younger generation of the village don’t know much about

the origin of the lottery but they continue to celebrate the tradition without even bothering to

question it which result in murder of someone for their belief.

One might say that the tradition should continue because it is an important aspect of their

culture which they have been following for last 77 years. As old man Warner states on page 247

that, “Seventy-seventh year I been in this lottery……..Seventy-seventh time.” This shows that, in

order to keep the tradition going, the villagers have sacrificed 77 people. In the story it also states

on page 246 that, “Used to be saying about ‘Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.” This portrays

that the lottery is not only the tradition to the community but also a belief. They believe that

without the lottery, they will be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. The old man warner fears

that if they stop holding the ritual of the lottery, they will return to the primitive times.
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